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 (January, 2022)
AUTHOR
Ben White »

Winter weather can wreak havoc on a building and if not maintained, can cause further long-term damage. In order to prevent expensive headaches in the future, building owners can take those simple steps to ensure the longevity of their building.


  •  After extreme weather, such as an ice storm, inspect the building’s exterior for damage and the interior for roof leaks. (30 min)
  • Inspect the interior of the building for leaks during and after the first heavy ice/snow of the season. (30 min)
  • Sweep debris from flat or low sloping roofs. (30 min)
  • Examine the roof flashing for a tight fit and proper watershed where any horizontal surface meets a vertical surface (chimney, parapet cap, and roof). (30 min)
  • Clean out gutters and downspouts, and inspect for damage that might have occurred during freeze-thaw cycles. (1 hour)
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Missouri Main Street Connection Inc. (MMSC) partnered with AARP Missouri in awarding $5,000 to five selected communities including Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, Dutchtown Main Streets, Independence Square Association, Uptown Jackson Revitalization Organization, and Clinton Main Street to make their resiliency projects, meant to inspire change and improve communities for all ages, a reality. As a result of the completion of these projects, each community has activated spaces in their communities, met the changes in evolving business climates, and bettered their downtowns while celebrating and encouraging inclusivity.


Independence Square Association – Liberty Lounge

The beginning of 2021 saw the completion of Independence Square Association’s Liberty Lounge with 400 volunteer hours being contributed by volunteers on this project. They made a place that provided social distancing while being an outdoor venue to gather. Their project included painted outdoor games for adults, painted activity zones for kids, picnic areas, seating, and a raised platform for live music. Former bank teller boxes were repurposed for catering of food and drink and as pop-up shop locations. QR scans were created to pull up menus from area restaurants and hand sanitizing stations to keep hands clean as social distancing occurs. They also created a mural that is gaining a lot of attention in their community!

 

Since the Liberty Lounge’s inaugural event, which included a performance by the Kansas City Symphony, –with the Kansas City Symphony returning in the spring for another free conference— the Liberty Lounge provided the space for the fourth annual Square Table, an evening to celebrate the historic downtown and raise money for continuing revitalization and beautification efforts in downtown Independence. It allowed for the outdoor performance of “A Selection of Shorts” and “Broadway Under the Stars” by the City Theatre of Independence.


Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street – 816 Building

In March of 2021, Downtown Lee’s Summit completed the latest evolution of their alley activation project that has been ongoing since they moved their office space to the alley in the fall of 2015. This once overlooked and neglected part of the downtown infrastructure is now equipped with public art and building improvements to more easily facilitate events and gatherings on nights and weekends for the office and their neighbors in the alley. Donnie Rodgers Executive Director of Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street said, “The overall impact has already been much greater than we envisioned. This project was a shot of optimism during a time when there wasn’t a lot of visible progress or improvements happening due to COVID-19.”

  

The alley activation project created a safer space for the public to gather for both small events and informal interactions. The project included:

  • the creation of an operable and artistic gate to allow for closure on nights and weekends to vehicular traffic;
  • the addition of new public art, specifically, a neon “816” constructed from reclaimed signage, creating a new photo opportunity that represents the community’s area code;
  • festival lighting to make the alley more inviting and safer in the evenings;
  • additional planters were installed as modular barricades and added additional greenery; and
  • a community-painted alley asphalt mural which created a fun environment and has helped aid in slowing down daytime traffic, by alerting divers that they have arrived in pedestrian shared space. The mural incorporated visuals to help patrons visualize how much 6 feet of space is to encourage safe, social distancing.

The success of this project has “already inspired possible future alley enhancements across downtown to help make for safer public events for all,” says Donnie Rodgers. Downtown Lee’s Summit has continued plans to utilize the potential of this space as “a pop-up event space.” 

 

Dutchtown Main Streets – Neighborhood Innovation Center

April 2021 saw the completion of Downtown Dutchtown’s transformation project of the Neighborhood Innovation Center parking lot into a multi-functional outdoor event space for families and businesses. This project included 150 volunteer hours and had additional donations from local vendors. The multi-functional transformation consisted of colorful sun sail shades that are easy to take down and put up, an outdoor event zone for hosting movie nights and supporting social distancing, an outdoor market zone that would be easy for merchants to setup and breakdown, and a communication information zone. 

 

This space will continue to support the needs of multigenerational families and neighborhood businesses, which it did not previously support. All Downtown Dutchtown’s businesses, non-profit organizations, and families can utilize and participate in the new outdoor event and market spaces. 


Clinton Main Street - JC Smith Park

In June 2021 the improvements to the JC Smith Park made by Clinton Main Street through their JC Smith Park Community Project were completed with over 115 volunteer hours. The JC Smith Park is a largely concrete area with benches, tables, a swing, sun shades, and two entry gates. Clinton Main Street implemented the community visitors’ vision in making this park more useful and accessible to the community and local businesses as well as made it more spatially ideal for social distancing. Since the addition of the sun shades that provided covered seating, lighting for evening events, and low planters which replaced sections of the fencing, more visitors have been able to move more easily in and out of the park. A sanitization station was also added which allows visitors around the Square a space where they can rest and sanitize.

When asked if the project had an impact on the district, Tina Williams, Executive Director of Clinton Main Street said, “It was how we envisioned! Already we are seeing an uptick in people using the park and feeling it is a welcoming space.”

  

JC Smith Park has already seen use in the celebration of Olde Glory Days and the Quilt Walk in downtown Clinton.

  

Uptown Jackson Revitalization Organization – Roaming Parklet

The end of 2021 saw the debut of Uptown Jackson Revitalization Organization’s (UJRO) ‘Roaming Parklet’ during the 2021 Christmas Parade in Jackson, Missouri. This project was unveiled to the community after months of dedicated volunteer work and coordination by UJRO with vendors and suppliers to complete their project. Developed off the grant winning rendering from Craig Milde, Design Committee chair and architect with Design + Advise, UJRO built a custom “Roaming Parklet’ from a tiny home frame that is lower to the street surface to allow fewer steps to climb and a shorter accessibility ramp. Furnishings including seating, bar top tables, and umbrella coverings when necessary to allow the ‘Roaming Parklet’ to be configured in different set ups according to the need of the business or special event. COVID-19 has made ordering tricky over the past year leading to several delays; however, UJRO continued to press on with the project and wait until all the pieces were ready for the project’s completion. 

 

Activating streets has been vital in many communities across America as changing business requirements during the pandemic required more space for shoppers and diners. To address these requirements, many communities allowed restaurants and businesses to expand into the streets, utilizing would-be parking spaces as new shared spaces that served as extensions of their businesses to form parklets and outdoor seating. This is great for communities that have the infrastructure to allow for these measures to not impede or restrict streets and sidewalk spaces in facilitating drivers and foot traffic. For the Uptown Jackson area, this presented its own challenges as community and merchant concerns grew about the idea of permanent parklets.  Therefore, UJRO developed this ‘Roaming Parklet’ that would rotate and park at all Uptown businesses allowing them shared access to this self-contained, mobile “parklet” providing the same amenities for each use at each business driving publicity and foot traffic. Not only will this ‘Roaming Parklet’ be utilized for special event space and pop-up markets, it also is planned to expand existing businesses’ storefronts and retail space for years to come.  


This is a big win for the uptown district and businesses as this will allow UJRO to inspire further revitalization and activation through the ‘Roaming Parklet’ by testing areas in the district for further enhancement and aligning UJRO’s anticipated comprehensive landscape plan in lieu of the routine builds and removal of semi-permanent parklets. 

 

These projects were completed by communities in 2021 and have become inclusive spaces for their communities where people can come together safely and enjoy their community. These projects demonstrated the importance of looking at spaces in our historic downtowns through the Main Street Approach™ using each of the four points (organization, economic development, design, and promotion) to strategically think of answers to the concerns and needs of the community. Each community created more than just another event space as they created multi-use spaces that provide places to gather together safely and contribute to the “stickiness” of their downtown to keep people in the district longer. These projects also serve as facilities for small businesses and entrepreneurs to use to get their business started, test new markets through pop-up shops, and spaces that can display, feature, and celebrate the culture and arts found within the district. Missouri Main Street Connection is looking forward to what else happens at these great, activated spaces for years to come.

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AUTHOR
Ben White »

The path to $1 billion in public and private investment in Missouri Main Street downtown districts has been rich with diverse improvement projects funded by using various sources and funding options. Chillicothe’s use of available state financing options and pairing projects with local, private fundraising to complete large-scale projects provides a model for other Missouri Main Street communities. Two projects have really stood out using this funding model: Silver Moon Plaza and the purchase and renovation of the Main Street Building.


Silver Moon Plaza truly is a lemon to lemonade type of story. Due to disrepair and years of neglect three buildings unfortunately had to be demolished, leaving a large empty lot. The owner of the demolished buildings, who is also the owner of the Milbank Mills company, donated the land to Main Street Chillicothe. The organization and other community leaders quickly worked on developing a plan to turn the land into an area that could be used by the community.  This three-year project turned the once empty lot into a beautiful space that Main Street Chillicothe uses for events, cultural attractions, and so much more. This plan turned into the project that came to be known as Silver Moon Plaza, named after a product of Milbank Mills, Silver Moon Feeds. The funding for the project came from multiple sources in a true public-private partnership, a staple of the Main Street Movement. First, funding came from the Missouri Development Finance Board, a tax credit program focused on infrastructure and economic development projects. This was the catalyst for a $750,000 pocket park project. Additional funding came from private donors in the community that believed in this important project.

 



Another rehabilitation project that Main Street Chillicothe was able to complete and lead by example with the Main Street Approach™ was the purchase and rehabilitation of the Main Street building. This building, unfortunately, had become an eyesore at the entrance to downtown as the previous owner did not put the resources into the renovation of their building and preservation as a viable storefront for their interest and other business owners to come before Main Street Chillicothe purchased it.  This rehabilitation project utilized funding from the Neighborhood Assistance Program, a Missouri tax credit program focused on creating jobs and revitalizing buildings to economically benefit the community and its tax base. This $180,000 project not only beautified an entrance into downtown with a mural placed on the outside wall, but it provided funding for the organization through rental commercial space on the first floor and residential space on the second floor. This project fixed an eyesore and turned it into a real asset for the downtown.


State and federal funding can be important tools in the toolbelt for both organizations and building owners. One way to keep on top of available opportunities is to sign up for the monthly MMSC Grant Resource Directory; you can do that by signing up here: https://www.momainstreet.org/Grant-Resource-Directory/: Community projects, such as the two described above, take planning and buy-in from not only the Main Street program but district stakeholders. It is crucial to establish partnerships within the community to help with these large-scale projects. These elements are crucial to the Main Street Approach™ and successful, impactful revitalization. 

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The winter holiday season can be full of family and community traditions. Families around Missouri partake in amazing activities that are a part of their holiday celebration and form memories for everyone old and young. Communities like Lee’s Summit deck out their downtown with lights throughout the district but especially their downtown Howard Station Park. Every year it is covered with candy canes hanging along the fence.




Downtown Lee’s Summit has nominated Nate Moore and Boy Scout Troop 1264 for ‘I Spy… Great Work’. This nomination enters Nate Moore and Boy Scout Troop 1264 for Volunteer of the Year at the 2022 Missouri’s Premier Downtown Revitalization Conference in August. The nomination from Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street was submitted by Donnie Rodgers:

  


“The candy canes along the fence in Howard Station Park have been a part of the holiday tradition in Downtown Lee’s Summit for nearly 30 years and would not be possible without Boy Scout Troop 1264. We want to wish a special thank you to Nate Moore and Boy Scout Troop 1264 for keeping a downtown tradition alive for years to come. As part of Nate’s Eagle Scout project this year, he restored and built additional candy canes to hang. These candy canes have been maintained by Boy Scout Troop 1264 and were part of prior Eagle Scout projects.”



Missouri Main Street Connection is happy to see youth in a community take ownership of their downtown’s traditions and find ways to enhance them. Traditions are an important binder as they connect us all by shared memories formed from the tradition and it is important to pass them to the next generation. This allows them to take that tradition and add their unique perspective to it. When people are allowed to participate in the perpetuity of a tradition it brings vitality and strength to have it withstand time in a meaningful way.

 


If you see individuals in your community that are completing great work contact your local Main Street program and recommend them to be nominated for ‘I Spy… Great Work’. Anyone who has volunteered and gone above and beyond, donated something spectacular, or is a hear warming volunteer story is applicable for ‘I Spy... Great Work’. A local Main Street Board can submit approved submissions through the website

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