We love historic downtowns!

Enhancing the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being of historic downtown business districts in Missouri.

Public and Private INVESTMENT

$1000000000

Net new businesses

834

Net New jobs

4109

volunteer hours

444113

Designated Missouri Main Street communities report economic impact in their districts each quarter. Cumulative totals for the program.

 

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Blog Home > Archive (October, 2021)

Photography is one of the greatest tools a Main Street program can use in continuing their great work. Words often associated with photography are preservation, documentation, evidence, proof, and memories. These words coalesce what distinguishes Main Street from other groups and non-profits; that is its focus and dedication on preserving the historic character of downtowns as the heart of the community through its central location and hub for entrepreneurs, businesses, events, and more. It is this historic character that draws people in through a sense of living and visiting a unique place.

This intersection between photography and Main Street centers on its mission to record, document, and preserve a community’s life and patrons. Without pictures, we would know very little about the look of our Main Streets from the 1900s, but because the time and effort people took in the past to photograph what they did we have a better picture of what Main Streets looked like in the past and how vibrant they were. There are many famous pictures you see today that portray the mundane, people’s normal lives or regular buildings of that time that we now reflect back on and cherish as part of our community’s past. It is imperative that we continue what our predecessors have done and document the work we do for others to reflect on and become inspired by in years to come.


Four Benefits from Documenting Main Street Preservation


Showing Impact: Photographs and recorded materials can be used in reports provided to stakeholders, donors, partners, or city and county officials to demonstrate the impact and return on investment Main Street has in communities through the work of its citizens. Words and numbers do a good job at communicating what we need them to, but a photo truly is worth a thousand words with what can be conveyed. These reports include annual reports, partnership brochures, stakeholder brochures, etc. Wait and see just how you can spur new investment by capturing and sharing how you have used past investment wisely and for community benefit.

 

Promotion of District and Main Street Organization: Photograph your events, volunteers, and other Main Street activities to include in your promotional campaigns and materials. Focus on capturing candid moments and event photography that people can cherish, look back on, and enjoy. Also, consider how your photos can communicate a sense of place by capturing your streets and buildings in streetscapes, landscape, or cityscape photography.

Preservation: Capturing moments in history show to people what and how spaces used to be in decades past and today for future generations. These photos can showcase your district’s unique buildings and architectural features and use drone footage to show the entire district and the changes that happen with infill or empty lot activation. Add an annual pictoral survey of your district into your action plan so that you make time to document the changes.

Grant Writing: Photographing the before, during, and after of your projects are important records that are asked and required for grant writing and reporting. For example, under the Historic Tax Credit programs offered at the state and federal levels before work starts pictures are requested for the application to show the current condition and pictures during the project, after completion, and in use for documentation.

 

Tips for Photographing Main Street

 

  • Take as many photos as you can so you have an ample amount to pick the best from.
  • If you have access to a digital camera become familiar with its settings and use it over a phone to ensure a higher pixel density and quality.
  • Take pictures as often as you can of your district at events and minor and major projects to record the changes that happen to highlight all that is going on in your district.
  • Consider different angles and perspectives to capture the breadth of your district and all of the nooks and crannies.
  • Share your pictures so others may fall in love with your district.


How will you capture the heart of your district and its people to preserve and tell later on?

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Through 2021, Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) has been working with our St. Louis Main Streets districts to educate them on the Main Street Approach™, establish their Board and committees, and prioritize the goals for their districts to succeed.


Following visits from consultants specializing in all areas of the Main Street Approach™, Dutchtown Main Streets was presented with and accepted two Transformation Strategies that will guide their organization’s revitalization work. Their guiding Transformation Strategies are Entrepreneurship Development and Serving the Neighborhood. These strategies build on the entrepreneurial spirit that is already present and working in Dutchtown as well as the residential density that surrounds the commercial district.


The Laclede’s Landing Neighborhood Association has worked to establish their Board of Directors and set up committees. MMSC worked with the organization to gain insight from the district’s stakeholders including property owners, business owners, and residents to better inform their revitalization work. In November, MMSC staff and our team of consultants will work with Laclede’s Landing to determine next steps for the organization to take in utilizing the Main Street Approach™ for their district revitalization.


MMSC has recently accepted the third St. Louis Main Streets district into the pilot program. Delmar Main Streets has established their Board of Directors and are in the early stages of learning how best to utilize the Main Street Approach™ in their district by setting up their committees and gathering neighborhood input. MMSC’s consultant team will work with the district to determine the organization and district brand as well as the collective vision for the district.


St. Louis Main Streets is a pilot urban Main Street program created by Missouri Main Street Connection through partnership with the St. Louis Development Corporation to bring the Main Street Approach™ to three commercial districts in St. Louis.


If you have any questions regarding the St. Louis Main Streets pilot program, MMSC, or the Main Street Approach™ call our office at 417-334-3014 or email us at  info@momainstreet.org.

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AUTHOR
Ben White »

The Missouri Main Street Connection Historic Preservation Committee had its first “Doctor Is In” consultation in September with Julie McBride, owner of Wyoming Street Wine Stop in Pleasant Hill, MO. Wyoming Street Wine Stop serves a variety of food and wines from all around the world making it truly a destination business for Pleasant Hill. Julie, along with her husband Robert, look to provide an experience for the residents of Pleasant Hill and draw in bikers from the nearby Katy Trail.


Julie reached out to Missouri Main Street Connection’s Historic Preservation Committee for help with renovating the façade of her building and the funding options for the renovation. The original vision was to tear out the existing storefront in order to try to recreate the original façade from when the building was first constructed in the early 1900s. During the meeting, the committee recommended adding an attractive awning and paint, as well as suggesting preventative upkeep measures for the building as ways to enhance the existing storefront instead of recreating the original storefront. These recommendations came from reviewing the history of the community, district, and building by the committee in preparation for the meeting. The building that currently houses the Wyoming Street Wine Stop gained its existing storefront as part of a major renovation that happened in the 1950s, which is the same period of significance that was part of the National Register nomination for the Pleasant Hill National Register district.


Even though the storefront is not original, it is still historic at over 70 years old and coincides with the historic significance of the district. Making changes to the existing façade is important versus making drastic changes to the look, in order to be eligible for historic tax credits and to keep the building historically significant. These recommendations considered the historic tax credit program and what qualifies as an eligible expense to provide guidance for Julie in where to start with historic tax credits and who she should talk to if historic tax credits are to be potentially used on the project.


The meeting provided direction for her and her husband as they talk with an architect on the next steps following their meeting. Currently, the upper floor and back of the building are the primary focus, with the enhancement of the façade to be completed after these first projects. The upper floor is planned to be activated and turned into residential use. “Thank you and the team so much for taking the time to help Robert and I navigate historic preservation,” said Julie McBride after the consultation was completed and follow-up material was given.


The Historic Preservation Committee is ready to help you with any preservation-related questions that you or a downtown stakeholder may have. “We welcome any and all applicants from Missouri Main Street Connection’s top three Tiers to submit an application to the Historic Preservation Committee. We’re ready to help and be of service to downtown districts in Missouri,” said John Vietmeier, the chair of the Historic Preservation Committee. This meeting serves as the initial consultation and the connector for future steps needed. Historic preservation-related discussions could include but are not limited to: façade renovation assistance, building materials and maintenance issues, historic tax credits, and funding questions.


If you are interested in talking with the team of professionals about a historic preservation-related question, you can fill out a short form outlining the problem here: https://www.momainstreet.org//Programs.aspx?PID=1099.


All submissions should be turned into Program Outreach Specialist, Ben White, by email at ben@momainstreet.org. Please attach all applicable pictures to the submission. After receipt, Ben will follow up with any additional materials and information needed and work to set a time to join the virtual meeting. Applicants must be in a community from the top three MMSC Tiers: Accredited, Associate, or Affiliate. 

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Transformation Strategies came out of the Main Street Refresh that the National Main Street Center did in 2015 and are now being integrated into their new accreditation standards, which will be rolling out in the near future.  The accreditation standards are a measure of a local Main Street program’s work and impact in their downtown district.  This assessment determines whether a local program receives the accredited designation. 

 

In 2015, the National Main Street Center created a Task Force of Main Street and downtown revitalization specialist who led what they called the Main Street Refresh, which looked at the Main Street Four Points to determine if they were still relevant since their creation in the late 1970s.  The results of the Refresh indicated that the Four Points are still very relevant to the Main Street Approach™, but the framework can be used in a more flexible way, allowing for a variety of organizational models.  It also noted that preservation still remains a focus, but additionally, the work of the Main Street program needs to be driven by an understanding of the market conditions both locally and regionally.  Community engagement is vital to the success and sustainability of any Main Street program including residents, district stakeholders, and key partners.  The last finding in the report pertains to the idea of Transformation Strategies and ties all of these things together.  The Task Force noted that “the direction of a Main Street program is guided by Transformation Strategies – economically-supportable statements around which the program develops its action plans.  Transformation Strategies incrementally create positive change in a district’s economy and are implemented through simultaneous activity across the Four Points.”  Another way of looking at Transformation Strategies is that they are economic strategies, which help guide and focus the work of the local Main Street program.  Main Street programs do not have unlimited resources so Transformation Strategies determine priorities for two to five years to get the highest return on their efforts. 

 

Transformation Strategies are being integrated into the new accreditation standards since the findings from the Refresh reinvigorate the Main Street Approach™. Transformation Strategies elevate the processes, strategic planning, and annual board planning sessions that Main Street has used to successfully revitalize their district by refining the rough edges.  We all have experienced planning sessions and meetings that have felt like an exercise in herding cats.   There are many forces pulling and pushing a Main Street board of directors.  This new Transformation Strategy focus provides guidance for the local program using community input, light market analysis, and some outside help and support.  In the pilot communities utilizing Transformation Strategies, the board of directors and executive directors liked the new process because it helped them focus the work of the committees but also allowed them to say NO to certain things because it did not fit into the current strategies. 

 

The development of Transformation Strategies is not rocket science, but the process of community input, analyzing market information, and looking at current conditions brings the necessary steps into focus for creating those impactful economic strategies to move the district forward for the next 2-5 years. 

 

Missouri Main Street Connection is currently working with our communities to develop Transformation Strategies to focus their revitalization work and prepare for the National Main Street Center’s new accreditation standard to roll out in the near future. The Accredited and Associate Tiered organizations are undergoing the process of developing Transformation Strategies if they have not already done so in past years. This framework has involved a meeting with the board of directors and the staff to review the process, evaluate past successes and opportunities, gather organizational and district information, and prepare for an online community survey.  The 16-question survey was developed to garner information on how the community views downtown, how they currently use downtown, and what they would like to see downtown.  The results of the survey are evaluated with demographic and market data to start painting a picture of opportunities and needs in the downtown district.  Missouri Main Street Connection staff analyzes the data along with past knowledge of the district and community to recommend one to two Transformation Strategies for the board of directors to consider.  After board discussion and adoption, the organization begins to integrate the strategies into current projects or events, while also brainstorming new project or events with the goal of implementing economic change within the district that align with the new focus. 

 

Missouri Main Street Connection also currently uses the Transformation Strategy development process in the Community Empowerment Grant program with new communities establishing a Main Street program to establish the process of strategy development as a foundational tool for the organization in the beginning. 

 

For more information on The Main Street Refresh or Transformation Strategies, visit the Main Street Resource Library under the Organization Point at www.MoMainStreet.org.  

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Missouri Main Street Connection and our team of Downtown Strong consultants began onsite visits in communities across Missouri. After a busy month with coordinating calls and Zoom meetings, consultants are now having on-site visits where they can gather more information about the business and organizations they will be working with.

 

BOLD Marketing has been in Cape Girardeau, Dutchtown (St. Louis), Lebanon, and Clinton. Cygnet Strategies did a whirlwind tour of Carthage, Joplin, Lebanon, and Independence. MarksNelson has visited Lee’s Summit. Downtown Professionals Network spent time in southeast Missouri at Cape Girardeau and will be traveling to Campbell soon! Jon Stover & Associates will be landing in Warrensburg the first week of November.

 

If your community hasn’t started the process or hosted a consultant yet, don’t worry. Much of the work is being done virtually or in advance of visits. Our partner consultants have hit the ground running and still have more work to do.


We are finding that most of our participating businesses and organizations are better than they think and have such great potential! They have made it through the roughest time of the pandemic. And now many need help managing change and figuring out how to grow their business in this new business environment. Some need guidance on the ever-changing media platforms and how they can share that they are “open for business” and want to continue to serve their customers or clients. Business owners have felt that the visits have been helpful because they are able to talk to someone with a fresh and knowledgeable perspective. And often they know the answers but need affirmation.


After meeting with one business, Vicky Soderberg with Cygnet said, “We came up with ideas that they could run with starting today and they are definitely a poster child for what is possible!”


The impact of the Downtown Strong Building Resilient Communities Grant program will be that the participating businesses and organizations will be stronger, more resilient, and better able to reach their awesome potential!


If you have any questions or want to chat about this program or your services, please reach out to Project Manager, Marla Mills.

 

The services detailed in this update were prepared by Missouri Main Street Connection, Inc. using Federal funds under award 05-79-06056 from Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Development Administration or the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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AUTHOR
Ben White »

Our Affiliate Tier is home to many different types of communities from urban pilot programs enrolled in Saint Louis Main Streets, community programs getting started through the Community Empowerment Grant (CEG) program, and communities that have graduated out of the CEG program and are strong, sustainable revitalization organizations like the Historic River District, the Main Street program in Ozark, Missouri.

 

The Historic River District fully utilized their time in the Community Empowerment Grant program (formerly the Affiliate Grant Program) and built the foundation of a strong, sustainable organization that is making an impact in downtown Ozark. Chris Schafer, the President of Historic River District, remarked about their organizations time in the CEG program:

 

“I would recommend the grant services to anyone that is looking to improve their community. The training and structure that was given through these grant services were second to none from an organization (Main Street) that truly understands what it takes to improve your downtown community. It is unbelievable how much support and information is available on what to do to improve your community and how to go about it. The training opportunities that were afforded to us gave the direction and guidance for what each committee needed to work."

 

Chris Schafer lists the amazing things that have happened in their community since graduating out of the Community Empowerment Grant from placemaking and beautification to community amenities to even events:

• A veterans tribute on the anniversary of the end of the WWI in conjunction with the Christian County Museum and the local American Legion;

• Trunk or Treat Event on the Square;

• Cruising the Square event;

• The Heart of Ozark Gala;

• Haunted Walking Tour program in the fall;

• Friday Night Parade of Lights;

• A beautiful mural along South Jackson Street; and

• A new Gazebo on the Christian County square.

 

"This Affiliate Grant also helped us to build strong relationships with both city and county government. It has been a blessing to our organization and our community," Chris Schafer.

 

If you are interested in revitalizing your downtown using the structured services and resources of the Community Empowerment Grant program, please reach out to Program Outreach Specialist Ben White at ben@momainstreet.org or (816) 560-1722 for more information.

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The USDA Rural Grant named by Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) the My Community Matters Grant ended in 2021 after providing over 29 services for 10 different Main Street districts.  The services provided followed the National Main Street Four-Points of Design, Economic Vitality, Organization, and Promotion for the following communities: Brunswick, Butler, Canton, Concordia, Fayette, Kirksville, Knob Noster, Odessa, Monroe City, Rockaway Beach, Sikeston, and Willow Springs.

 

The services provided ranged from branding and marketing, development of communication tools, business development, store design consultations, façade photo-renderings, placemaking, streetscape design, board and volunteer development, and upper floor housing development. We have shared many of the products developed over the past 2 years of the grant and would like to share some of the highlights from various communities.

 

Communications Tools

 

Fayette Main Street participated in the IMPACT Communications exercise with 4 other Main Street organizations. This exercise involved the board of directors to assist in the creation of communications fact sheets to help demonstrate the impact of downtown and Main Street to various stakeholders within and outside the community.

Marketing Tools

Downtown Monroe City’s Main Street organization plans an annual fundraiser called the Pig and Swig to promote the agricultural heritage of their community. Ben Muldrow, branding specialist, created a full branding toolkit for the organization and their events.

 

Streetscape Designs

Knob Noster’s downtown district received a streetscape design for State Street from Andy Kalback. Andy provided not only recommendations about the design of the street and sidewalks but also provided placemaking suggestions for parklets and fun, creative crosswalks.

 

Façade Photo Renderings

Randy Wilson, architect and design specialist, provided façade renderings for almost every community that participated in the My Community Matters grant program. Many have been implemented with plans for many others to be implemented soon. Photo renderings provide guidance, inspiration, and details on the potential for a building that is sought out by the owners or city officials. Many times a photo rendering can be accompanied by a façade grant program.

 

While the My Community Matters grant program is coming to an end, the impacts of the program are still being measured. As the projects in these Main Street districts continue to develop and come to fruition, the impact will be measured from dollars invested to businesses opened and jobs created. If your Main Street program or downtown district is interested in receiving services like those outlined above, reach out to Missouri Main Street or check out the Service Directory here. 

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There is a lot of action in the Downtown Strong Grant world now that the consultants have hit the ground running. 

 

´╗┐We are working with 12 different consultant groups who all are passionate about helping each business and organization be successful and thrive!


Approximately 90% of the 65 businesses and 17 organizations have had initial contact with their consultants and an initial meeting of some sort (mostly virtual) with their consultants. In these meetings, the consultants have learned more about the business or organization and asked a lot of tough questions to see where the business or organization stands, if anything has changed since the application process, and what they want to accomplish. It gives them the information needed to provide the best services possible within the grant guidelines and budget.


Some of the consultants have already set up on-site visits over the next couple of months and all are moving as quickly as possible to deliver their services. MMSC plans to also have a presence at as many of these on-site visits as possible to strengthen this partnership (business/organization – consultant – MMSC) and to continue to grow these relationships.


If you are one of the businesses or organizations who have not yet had initial contact with your consultant, don’t be concerned. You will hear something soon! Each of the consultants are working in their own unique way and on their specific timelines, but all are committed to this program!


If you have any questions or want to chat about this program and services, please reach out to Project Manager, Marla Mills. We can’t wait to see the impact of this program on Missouri’s downtowns and their businesses!!

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