We love historic downtowns!

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

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

Public and Private INVESTMENT

$964004032

Net new businesses

829

Net New jobs

4097

volunteer hours

443446

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Adding some new paint to a downtown building is one of the easiest and visually appealing things that a building owner can do to enhance the appearance and perception of their building. However, if not done correctly, it can actually harm the building and cause issues down the road. Here are some things to consider when painting a downtown building:


1. Make sure surfaces are prepped correctly before painting. Replace rotten wood and repoint brick if necessary. Remove all peeling and loose paint with a scraper, wire brush, or carefully apply heat to the area.

2. Prime the area, especially on wood surfaces.

3. Talk with the local hardware store on the appropriate paint for the project and that it will provide the desired effect and color. Oil-based paints are generally more durable but harder to apply; latex-based paints are easier to apply but don’t last as long. Use quality paint so that it will last longer and not peel. 

4. Use two or three complementary colors to accent the architectural features on the building. Choose colors that express your likes and/or the business color scheme, but that also complements the historic fabric of your downtown and the other buildings in it. 

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Historic preservation isn’t just about appreciating buildings; it’s about actively preserving our historic buildings assets in our downtown. In order to prolong the life of these buildings and create a visually-appealing downtown, we need to take care of our buildings well before they show major issues. The best care building owners can give to their buildings is taking those preventive and regular care measures before problems become an expensive fix. Here are some maintenance tips that building owners can put into action in the third quarter as they take care of their building:

Remove plants growing on or close to walls and foundation. (30 min)

Visually check for moss or lichen, especially around parapets, sills, and downspouts. (30 min)

Check grading at foundation to make sure water will drain away from building and not pool. (15 min)

Inspect basement or crawl space for excess water during wet weather. (30 min)

Inspect interior of building for leaks during first heavy rain of season. (30 min)

Examine roof slope to make sure water is not pooling at any area on the roof. (15 min)

Make sure water can flow freely through the gutters and downspouts. Clean out if they are clogged. (30 min)

Sweep debris from flat or low sloping roofs. (30 min)

 

Check back in October for fourth quarter building maintenance tips!

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Spring - Finally!

Now it is time to think about our buildings! 

This is the perfect time for every business and property owner downtown to take a serious look at their building for both maintenance issues and to evaluate whether it is time to make visual improvements.

Instead of starting with the glitz and glamour—it is really important to go through a checklist of basic maintenance items to be prepared for the spring storms and summer sunshine.

First, take a good look at the back of your building. Are the gutters and downspouts in good condition? Or have they gotten disconnected or damaged—it is easy to check during a rain storm to be sure the water is being carried down and away from the building instead of backing up on the roof or blasting onto the back wall where it can cause leaks through the roof or damage the back wall—both expensive to repair and easy to avoid with just a regular inspection of the gutters.

Then, make sure all the trash and leaves that collects through the winter, and even the dead weeds, are all cleared out—both in back and out front—this let’s people know you are really still in business. First impressions count for you and the entire downtown!

 

Cleaning the window glass so it sparkles and hosing down the canvas awnings to remove dust helps the building shine.

 

Now is a good time to check your exterior lighting as well as the lights for your display windows to make sure they are working well—it is hard to compete with the summer sunshine—it is so bright that it will look like your business is closed if you don’t have lights on.

With the basic spring cleaning finished, now is the time when property and business owners should take a step back—across the street—to really look at the front of the building.  Does it look tired and worn? Does it need a fresh coat of paint? Or is it time that you want to consider a major facelift or a new sign? This is the time of year to make those design decisions and line up the contractors who will help you get it done. Remember, your downtown’s Main Street Design Committee can help provide some great ideas and design assistance.

If you think it is time to do a major renovation and repairs, you might want to investigate whether you could utilize some of the financial incentives available to help fund these expenses. If you are in an historic district, you might be able to use historic tax credits to offset 25 to 45% of those improvements. Your city government or Main Street program may have other incentives to help as well. Ask your local Main Street director for details!

Here are two links from our friends in Illinois on building maintenance:

http://www.illinois.gov/ihpa/Preserve/Documents/Maintenance%20Schedule%202013.pdf

http://www.illinois.gov/ihpa/Preserve/Documents/site_review_form.pdf

Written by Karen Bode Baxter, Preservation Specialist and Advisory Board Member of Missouri Main Street Connection.

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