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Blog Home > Archive (February, 2016)

What does community development mean to you?  In the Main Street world, community development is economic development with a historic preservation emphasis.  This translates into developing customers, places, resources and businesses – a comprehensive focus.  Over 2,000 communities across the country utilizing Main Street and its principles can’t be wrong.  So if your community hasn’t already invested in Main Street, how do you get started?

There are many ways to get started but the easiest is to utilize Missouri Main Street’s Affiliate Grant Program.  This program is a two-year, hands-on platform to assist with establishing or jump-starting a Main Street program in the community.  It can either help with building the organization from scratch including by-laws and 501(c)3 filing or help an already created organization implement the Main Street Four-Point Approach® to revitalization.  In both scenarios, the Affiliate Grant Program assists with gathering feedback and buy-in from the community, provides direction in creating priorities, and trains the organization and community on the Main Street principles.  The hands-on approach and two years of consultation in the community reduces the learning curve so the revitalization process can take hold much quicker than without the Affiliate Grant Program. 

In the last three years, over 16 communities have completed or are currently in the program.  Blue Springs graduated from the program in 2013, hired their first executive director in 2014, and attained the Associate Tier level by 2015.  Board member and newly hired executive director, Cindy Miller, has shared that “the formula provided by Missouri Main Street provides the structure that enables a group of people to work together.  Structure is the key to the success of any project and the Affiliate Grant Program provides just that.”

Since 2008, the Affiliate communities have experienced over $28 million in redevelopment and rehabilitation in both the private and public sectors.  The Main Street program provides that structure and comprehensive approach to redevelopment which sets the stage for investors and entrepreneurship.  With development comes job creation, new businesses/expansion and increased property values, all items that contribute to the overall stability of the community. 

So as you look at your community, is it an asset or liability?  Look at your community from the perspective of a visitor, tourist, potential business owner or developer, new teacher, prospective manufacturer, or someone looking to relocate to your community.  Do they see empty storefronts or bustling sidewalks?  Crumbling buildings or rehabilitated structures?  Dirty windows and unkempt sidewalks or neat landscaping and benches for shoppers? 

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed it’s the only thing that ever has” is a quote by Margaret Mead that we use to demonstrate the power of the local community.  Someday is here…what are you waiting for?

The next Affiliate Grant Workshop is March 9, 2016, in Jefferson City.  To participate in the program, someone from the community must attend the workshop.  This workshop is free to attend but an RSVP is required.  Find more information here

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It is has already been a busy start to the new year of Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC). January saw us planning for a year full of events, trainings and celebrating our 10th Anniversary!

On the 25th of January we held our first event of 2016 in Jefferson City. Each year MMSC hosts a showcase of our Main Street communities for all of the state legislators in order to not only illustrate the impact and power of Main Street but also to highlight, once more, the outstanding work completed by our 2015 Missouri Main Street award winners. Guest enjoyed the reception while sharing their experiences in Main Street. The showcase was held at Revel Catering in downtown Jefferson City.


The beginning of February was spent finishing program visits to many of our Main Street communities. With the assistance of the National Main Street Center’s (NMSC) Norma Ramirez de Miess, members of our staff were able to visit some of our community organizations and assess their use of the Main Street Four-Point Approach®. After touring the downtown districts, they met with staff, the board of directors and committees to see what each community is working on.

March is proving to be a very busy month at MMSC. We are hosting our Main Street Summit on March 3-4 at our office in Branson. The summit is a free, invite only event for communities wanting to learn more about advancing their community and downtown using the Main Street Four Point Approach®. Two participants per community, one from the city and one from the downtown organization must be in attendance. Presented by the National Main Street Senior Program Officer Norma Ramirez de Miess, this event will focus on board, volunteer and fund-raising development as well as identifying key players and organizations to assist in each communities revitalization goals. Attendees will also learn practical tools for success of their organizations. For more information, please call our office at 417-334-3014.


At MMSC we offer three matching grant programs that help communities advance their downtown organizations. One of these, the Affiliate Grant, helps communities in the beginning stages of developing their organization. To apply for this grant, community representatives must attend one of the Affiliate Grant Workshops that we host throughout the year. The first of these workshops will be on March 9th in Jefferson City. Attendees will receive an introduction to the Main Street Philosophy of Revitalization, information on how to apply for the grant as well as the application materials. This is one of only two Affiliate Grant workshops that we are hosting in 2016, so reserve your spot today!

We begin April on a high note with our Quarterly Workshop on April 1st in Grandview, one of our Affiliate Main Street communities. This workshop titled Nuts and Bolts of Commercial District Real Estate Investment will teach attendees how, given the right tools and fundamental understanding, they can influence the market dynamics that impact local real estate investment as part of an overall Economic Vitality strategy. Speaker Matt Wagner from the National Main Street Center will use case studies and hands on examples to showcase how organizations can improve their success by understanding how to create a more attractive community environment conducive to district property development.

As you can see, our 2016 calendar is full of events to help communities across the state continue their work in revitalization. For more information and to register for these and many other events go to our upcoming trainings page. Also, stay tuned for updates on each opportunity by signing up for our newsletter. And don’t forget, early bird registration for the Main Street Now conference hosted by NMSC on May 23-25, 2016 in Milwaukee ends on February 29th. Register today in order to hear about great revitalization work happening in communities of all sizes throughout the country!

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