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Throughout 2016, we have celebrated 10 years of Missouri Main Street Connection. We have accomplished a lot in these first 10 years and hope to have as much success in the next 10! In 2017, we officially kick of the next 10 years of MMSC with some exciting projects.

 

We began working on the first of these projects in October 2016. Earlier this year we received a grant, from the State Historic Preservation Office to conduct a study on the economic impact of historic preservation initiatives in Missouri. These initiatives include the Missouri Main Street program, SHPO’s Certified Local Government program, and the use of state and federal historic tax credits. We have visited several communities to collect data and stories on their experiences with these initiatives. The study will also examine stats that we have collected over the past 10 years from our Main Street communities. We are very excited to see the results of this study and hope it will be a tool to showcase the impact of Missouri Main Street and other preservation initiatives.

 


Cape Girardeau visit to study the economic impact of historic preservation initiatives in Missouri.

 

Another amazing opportunity we are looking forward to in 2017 is partnering with USDA on two different projects. First, through the Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG), we will be able to focus our revitalization efforts in the southeast region of Missouri in order to help those communities establish a revitalization organization. When examining our work with Missouri communities, we noticed that few communities in the Southeast region of Missouri had taken advantage of the assistance we had to offer. We felt that it was important to expand our reach to communities in this area and with assistance from USDA, we will be able to offer communities in this region specialized training and mentoring.

 


Lee's Summit visit to study the economic impact of historic preservation initiatives in Missouri.

 

The second great partnership opportunity we are working on with USDA is through the Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) grant. This three-year project allows us to provide in-depth training and assistance to 12 communities throughout Missouri. This assistance will help them strengthen and expand their Main Street organizations. We are very excited to work with USDA on both this project and the RBDG project.

 


Jackson community visit to study the economic impact of historic preservation initiatives in Missouri.

 

The final project that we are very excited about is partnering with the National Main Street Center to bring the Main Street Now conference to Missouri in 2018! The Main Street Now conference boasts many educational opportunities to learn and connect with Main Street groups throughout the country. Currently we are still working with National Main Street to confirm the details of the 2018 Conference in Kansas City, but are so excited to have the opportunity to showcase the great revitalization work happening throughout Missouri.

 

And finally, we couldn’t take on all of these exciting new projects without a fresh new look to go with it! With the assistance of Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street and their local design firm, Fossil Forge, we have a new logo to usher in the next 10 years of Missouri Main Street Connection. Read more about the new logo and the competition we hosted for its design here

 

Missouri Main Street's fresh, new look beginning in 2017!

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Once upon a time in the land of the Show Me State, Main Street was on the verge of elimination. The state-funded program within the Department of Economic Development (DED) was chopped from the state budget, and the lone staff person was reassigned to other DED duties. In essence, the princess was in distress.

Cue 12 knights in shining armor – the local Main Street program managers took up the fight to retain a state program in Missouri. After many calls and unsuccessful pleas with Missouri legislators, they refused to yield to the loss and continued to provide training themselves in communities around the state. Their victory finally came a decade ago when the decision was made to transition the program from a state-run organization to a nonprofit 501(c)3. Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) was born.

And they lived happily ever after...

But it wasn’t the end of the story.

Missouri Main Street Champions lighting anniversary cake during the 2016 10-Year Celebration and Evening of Excellence in Washington, MO.

Because those Main Street Champions were so determined, MMSC is, today, an independent nonprofit organization funded by corporate sponsors, individual contributors, services provided, state and federal grants, and a contract with DED. Through this financial support, the program is able to provide conferences and workshops, consulting services, and publications to educate and empower local organizations to lead their downtown and neighborhood commercial district revitalization efforts. Acting as the coordinating program through the National Main Street Center, MMSC serves as the state’s clearinghouse for information, technical assistance, research, and advocacy.

Missouri Main Street Connection celebrates 10 years of nonprofit service success with these 10 key stats:

  1. The state of Missouri’s Main Streets is healthier than ever with over $683 million of private investment…
  2. And over $140 million in public investment since 2006. 
  3. Missouri’s Main Streets are led by volunteers who make downtown revitalization a powerful force. Those volunteers donated over 285,312 hours of service to the heart of their community…
  4. At a value of over $6.0 million. 
  5. With small business at the heart of downtown development, Main Streets foster that entrepreneurial spirit every day. Since 2006, over 526 net new businesses opened their doors…
  6. With over 2,936 net new jobs created. Even during the recession, Missouri Main Street communities were adding jobs faster than losses. 
  7. Currently, over 124 communities are served through outreach with workshops, in-community training, assessments, conferences and consultations.
  8. An MMSC staff of 4-1/2 with a combined 68 years of Main Street experience provides trainings, workshops, consultations and mentoring.
  9. Since 2006, 70+ trainings and workshops (not including consultations and trainings for specific communities) have been conducted statewide…
  10. With 2,882+ persons attending those events.

As you can see, over the last 10 years, Missouri Main Street has helped empower thousands of people at the local level to implement positive and sustainable change for their communities. 

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We’re celebrating a successful decade of nonprofit service as Missouri’s premier downtown revitalization organization!  As a coordinating program through the National Main Street Center, Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) has administered the Main Street Four-Point Approach® to any interested community in Missouri, helping to raise the state of Main Streets in Missouri to the healthiest it's ever been.

The reinvestment on Missouri’s Main Streets has continued to climb since 2006 with over $683 million of private investment and over $140 million in public investment. 

Volunteers in Missouri Main Street communities have donated over 285,312 hours of service at a value of over $6.0 million, making volunteer-led downtown revitalization one of the most cost-effective economic development programs anywhere. 

And with small business at the heart of downtown development, Main Streets foster the entrepreneurial spirit every day.  Since 2006, over 526 net new businesses opened their doors with over 2,936 net new jobs created.  Even during the recession, Missouri Main Street communities were adding jobs faster than losses occurred. 

Although the Main Street Philosophy has been present in Missouri since its launch in 1989 as a state-funded program within the Department of Economic Development (DED), the success of the program was halted in July 2003 when funding was stripped from the state budget and the lone staff person administering the program was reassigned to other duties within the DED.  Was Main Street in Missouri dead then? 

After many calls and unsuccessful pleas to Missouri legislators, 12 local Main Street program managers fought to keep the state program going in Missouri.  By working with the National Main Street Center and the DED, a valuable contract was in place by July 2003 to take up some of the slack in funding.  The Main Street managers continued to meet in communities around the state for training and looked to a representative from the National Main Street program for guidance and assessments.  It became apparent in training after training that more Missouri communities wanted help with their downtown revitalization efforts.  But...without a state-funded program, how would that need be met?  

Through the determination of that core group of local program managers and supporters, the Missouri Main Street program was resurrected in 2006 from a discarded state-run organization into Missouri Main Street Connection, a nonprofit 501c3 with the potential for broader opportunities and resources for funding to support the education effort for revitalization. 

Today, as the coordinating program through the National Main Street Center, MMSC serves as the state’s clearinghouse for information, technical assistance, research and advocacy.  Through financial support from partners that believe in our mission, corporate sponsors, individual contributors, grants and a contract for services with DED, we are able to provide consulting services, on-site visits, conferences/workshops, and publications to educate and empower local organizations to lead the revitalization of their downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts. 

We’re proud of the success we have achieved over the past 10 years and invite you to celebrate with us at our annual Get Plugged In…Downtown Revitalization Conference July 26-28!  Join us in Washington, Missouri, and help us celebrate the power of our Missouri Main Street communities!

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