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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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Progress is a big deal in Main Street from the first façade renovation and new businesses opening downtown to being recognized for your local Main Street organization’s preservation-based economic development efforts. This year, two local Main Street organizations have been recognized for their accomplishments in implementing the Main Street Approach™ through progressing to the next tier in the Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) tier system. MMSC is proud to recognize Downtown Joplin Alliance and Uptown Jackson Revitalization Organization for their achievement of Accredited and Associate tier placement respectively.

 

The Downtown Joplin Alliance achieved national and state accreditation from both Main Street America (MSA) and MMSC. Accreditation is the highest level a Main Street program can achieve and indicates that Downtown Joplin Alliance is exceeding in implementing the Main Street criteria impacting their local district in big ways. The National and State designation of accreditation came after Norma Ramirez de Miess, MSA, and Keith Winge, MMSC, completed an on-site review of the organization’s implementation of the Main Street criteria. Reaching this benchmark does not mean revitalization ends as it is equally important to maintain the accreditation status once earned.

 

In 2021, Downtown Joplin Alliance, through their program’s strong historic preservation ethic, active Board of Directors and committees, as well as other technical aspects that help the program function at a high-level, saw public and private investment of over $45 million in the historic district from 36 projects. The district saw a net gain of 19 new business and 54 new jobs. Additionally, volunteers for Downtown Joplin Alliance donated 1,425 hours of their time. Downtown Joplin Alliance celebrated this accomplishment with a cake from the City of Joplin and said,


“This would not have been reached without our staff, our board, our committee members, our other fabulous volunteers, and all of our fantastic partners, such as Joplin City Government, the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, and Connect2Culture amongst many others.”

 

   


The Uptown Jackson Revitalization Organization was selected as a new Associate tiered Main Street program with Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) following a program review by MMSC.  Associate designation is recognized by MMSC as a way to distinguish communities that are working toward being recognized as a national and state Accredited Main Street program.  As a stepping stone on the path to full accreditation, this benchmark highlights communities that are seeing an increase in the economic value of the downtown and is making progress to achieve an active and vibrant downtown revitalization organization.

  

During 2021, Uptown Jackson Revitalization Organization continued to implement historic preservation-based economic development in uptown Jackson that cultivated $461,382 total investment in downtown, 22 net new jobs, and 2,272 volunteer hours. Their impact has created a place for people to gather, live, and work in uptown Jackson

 

You can read the press releases written by MMSC staff through the link below:

www.momainstreet.org/press-releases/

 

The Main Street Approach™ is a time-tested economic development and historic preservation-based approach utilized successfully over the past 40+ years by over 40 coordinating programs and 1,200 neighborhoods and communities nationally. Missouri Main Street Connection’s program’s purpose is to implement this approach in creating vibrant communities across the state. The current Main Street criteria that is used to gauge the effectiveness of how a Main Street Program in implementing the Main Street Approach™ is based on over 40 years of successful downtown revitalization and demonstrates that empowering individuals to develop their downtown motivates high achievement, creates a place people will want to live, work and invest, and makes our state economically stronger. The goal of the National Main Street Center and Missouri Main Street Connection is to encourage preservation-based economic development through the Main Street Approach™.

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Missouri Main Street Connection Inc. (MMSC) partnered with the Missouri Humanities Council in awarding $5,000 grants to 12 selected communities through a competitive process to fund projects focused on strengthening heritage and cultural tourism in rural Missouri. The grant helped each community implement a project and market itself to prospective visitors. These projects added heritage tourism to the economies in each community through a range of projects from murals to walking tours to new monuments and building plaques that all highlight each respective community’s history for residents and visitors. One of the Marketing Heritage and Cultural Tourism grant was awarded to Charleston Revitalization Movement (CHARM) in March of 2022 with the project completed in September of 2022.


Charleston Revitalization Movement (CHARM) is a newer Main Street community in the Community Empowerment Grant program but their history and local significance runs deep. From being the lifelong residence of the 46th Governor of Missouri, Warren E. Hearnes, who was the first person in Missouri history to serve in all three branches of the state government to their high school basketball team’s, the Bluejay, twelve state championship titles, the community has a variety of heritage and history to celebrate. It is this deep, rich history that would be on display with a 24’ mural in a welcoming pocket park following the transformation of an overgrown vacant lot left after a building was removed.  

 

Charleston Revitalization Movement’s (CHARM) overall project is broken up into two phases with phase one being the mural and intial development of the pocket park. During phase one, the first step was to address the condition of the space for the pocket park by removing a tree and overgrown brush and poison ivy.

  

      


After clearing the lot, the concrete pad of the old building was exposed allowing for CHARM to preserve it with safety modifications for its new use. As the work was being done on this project CHARM said,


“On more than one occasion, visitors to the area stopped by to see what was taking place as well as offer encouraging words of how much they enjoy visiting our town and how beautiful the architecture and the atmosphere is.”


Next, a 10’ concrete ramp was installed for ADA accessibility and benches placed for locals and visitors to enjoy. The mural was then installed in the park. It is a digitized collage of artwork from three local artist that is printed on weatherproof materials depicting the Mississippi County Courthouse surrounded by beautiful dogwoods and azaleas, the Old Train Depot, a farming scene, a tribute to Charleston High School’s Bluejay Basketball team, and a portrait of Governor Warren E. Hearnes. Lastly, CHARM brought in planters and botanicals to spruce up and soften the space with nature and greenery.

  


 

The Marketing Heritage and Cultural Tourism grant has mobilized Charleston Revitalization Movement (CHARM) into action to address a void in their community and by doing so created the perfect environment for people to come together as CHARM wrote in their final report,


“This project has allowed local organizations and city leaders to join forces for the common good of the community. Local business owners have pitched in and contributed in-kind donations of their employee’s labor to help get the larger tasks completed. The community is pulling together and healing from the impact of the past few years.”


With the collaboration between CHARM board members and volunteers as well as Charleston community members in transforming the overgrown property, this space will be able to be used by the community for years to come. The excitement from the development of this space in Charleston has created a buzz for the locals and has sparked excitement in the community resulting in “people signing up to get involved in not only this project but future projects as well.”

  

 


Now that phase one has been completed, Charleston Revitalization Movement (CHARM) is waiting for the winter season to pass before moving forward with phase two which will include an elaborate selection of botanicals planted for year-round enjoyment. They also planned to bring additional enhancements to the pocket park in the spring of 2023 for the annual Dogwood-Azalea Festival in April. CHARM had heard many visitors express that they plan to return to see the finished project. Now that the pocket park and mural are ready to greet visitors, CHARM will share their story online to bring back visitors who saw this project in the works as well as new visitors to see what is unique and special about this town and its Main Street.


Missouri Main Street Connection awarded the Marketing Heritage & Cultural Tourism Grants in partnership with the Missouri Humanities Council and the National Endowment for Humanities through the American Rescue Plan Act.

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Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) offers two matching grants to help downtown organizations with their economic development efforts.  The People Energizing Places (PEP) Grant and the Strategic Teams Engaging People (STEP) Grant are a two-year and one-year grants for services, respectively.

 


MMSC is currently working with Sedalia and St. Charles through the PEP Grant.  The City of Sedalia applied and awarded the grant in January of 2021 to start a city-led Main Street program.  City officials had previous experience with Main Street and wanted help forming a local Main Street program that utilized an already established downtown city commission to serve as the leadership team.  MMSC did not have a city-led Main Street program in Missouri but, through the national Main Street network, knew there were successful city-led Main Street programs in other states.  Keith Winge, State Community Development Director, reached out to various Main Street State Coordinators to learn the ins-and-outs of Main Street programs housed within city government.   

 


Nation-wide most Main Street programs are established as non-profit, public benefit organizations designated as 501(c)3 organizations by the Internal Revenue Service.  There are also 501(c)6 membership based Main Street programs and Main Street organizations established as part of city or county government entities.  Each format has pros and cons ranging from the ability to take advantage of grant opportunities and encourage volunteer engagement with the 501(c)3 to the stability of wages and benefits in a city or county program.  The 501(c)6 format serves members and is not eligible for some grants while a city-led program must work harder to get volunteers involved.  MMSC reviewed the pros and cons with the City of Sedalia and they settled on the city-led Main Street format. 

 


Keith Winge began transforming the current Central Business and Cultural District Board into the Main Street leadership Board of Directors.  A community survey and stakeholder input session also took place to gather input on how downtown is used and what the community would like to see downtown with regards to businesses and activities.  This input helped with the formation of Main Street Transformation Strategies, also known as economic strategies, to guide the work of the newly formed Main Street program.  Using that data and feedback, MMSC recommended the Main Street program focus on creating a family friendly and entertainment strategy.  The City of Sedalia’s Main Street committees, will begin planning projects and initiatives that will use the Transformation Strategies as their guide.  Guided work with MMSC through the PEP grant will continue until the end of 2022 to help the City build their Main Street program.

 


St. Charles is a different story in that their downtown district is one of the quintessential downtowns in Missouri.  It has very little vacancy and many thriving downtown businesses, but the district lacked a formal organization to keep those efforts going.  A group of business and property owners got together to apply for the PEP grant for help in creating a Main Street organization to keep the downtown thriving into the future.  In April of 2022 Keith started with a day-long assessment of the current stakeholder groups by gathering feedback on what was and was not working in the district.

 


The group had already established a non-profit, 501(c)3 and Keith began helping them fill the Board of Directors reflecting the various stakeholder groups, diverse skillsets, and demographics representing the community-at-large.  The Main Street principles and philosophy were taught to the new Board of Directors equipping them to lead this new organization.  This new board is now recruiting and forming the Main Street committees.  These committees will brainstorm projects and initiatives, develop action plans, and implement those plans.  This two-year grant is entering its second year with MMSC finalizing the administration of the grant in 2023 where the St. Charles Main Street organization will continue to develop the committees, determine priorities, and continue to build a strong foundation to keep the momentum going in downtown St. Charles for their future.

 


If your Main Street program or downtown are interested in one of MMSC’s matching grant programs, reach out to Keith Winge at kwinge@momainstreet.org or by calling 417-334-3014.

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The Downtown Strong: Building Resilient Economies grant is a grant provided by the U.S. Economic Development Administration through Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) that continues to impact Missouri communities. These communities have been receiving technical assistance through services and trainings that deliver economic development strategies, resources, and final products that strengthen businesses and local Main Street organizations negatively impacted by the economic hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 


The Historic Independence Square in Independence, Missouri is home to Corporate Copy Print who has serviced countless clients for their communication needs over the past 27+ years. Prior to 2020, the owner of Corporate Copy Print had been planning on a succession plan for a while. No matter the size or age of a company, transitions can be rough. Corporate Copy Print is an anchor business for the local economy. It was important to get the succession of its owners correct for the longevity of the business and the health of the local economy. The planning was good and the timing was right for the retirement of the founding owner, yet leadership was struggling with identifying the best way to achieve the transition.

 


 


Then, in March 2020, Corporate Copy Print experienced a devastating blow. During the COVID-19 shutdown, Corporate Copy Print went from a booming print shop with a staff of twelve to a ghost town of two within ten short days.  Despite the company’s increased productivity through investment in equipment, streamlining of processes, and their long-time emphasis on diversification, the damage was done by the pandemic shutdowns and slowed economy. As time passed and companies were able to resume business in limited capacity with safety measures in place, business picked up again and, along with the Payroll Protection Plan, the business was able to call back most of their staff.

 


The owner of Corporate Copy Print saw the opportunity in the Downtown Strong Grant to work with professionals to address their top needs and help them recover from the punch of 2020. They needed help with a transition plan and, realizing that social media is key, help with a social media plan and engagement. To address the needs of the company, they were connected with two consultants, one to help with the transition and one to address their social media marketing needs.

 


MarksNelson worked with Corporate Copy Print to analyze their business and provide clarifying direction for their succession plans that had been in place. The plan had been to transition ownership to an employee that had been working in the business for over five years, but there were a lot of considerations and they needed a little guidance. Owner Tom Waters remarked that the information provided by MarksNelson really helped with their transition which is now in process.

  


Pictured above left to right: New owners Jeff McLaughlin and Emily Penrose McLaughlin and previous owners Tom Waters and Susan Waters.


On the social media side, Mysamaris worked with Corporate Copy Print on developing a plan to increase their engagement. They knew this was a key area of marketing they needed to focus on. Reaching their current and potential clients with engaging and consistent messaging was an identified struggle. Mysamaris guided them through the process of developing a plan, a calendar, and budget suggestions along with tips on implementation that would engage their clients in a way that would set them apart from their competitors by reflecting their desired brand identity of being lighthearted and fun.

 


The Downtown Strong Grant helped Corporate Copy Print through a transition process that businesses don’t always survive.  Tom noted that assistance through the Downtown Strong Grant “could help the next owner keep this Main Street business viable for another 27 years.” Transferring the ownership from the long-time owner to an employee took a strategic, deliberate, and well-timed plan. Corporate Copy Print and its owners not only made it through the transition, but are thriving on the other side!

 



The services included in this article 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 »

Exciting things are happening in Missouri Main Street Connection’s Community Empowerment Grant program! Currently, there are 16 communities receiving technical assistance through this program. The Community Empowerment Grant helps develop a strong Main Street board of directors & program while establishing strategies & implementation measures based on community feedback. The two newest communities accepted into the Community Empowerment Grant program are Grain Valley and Gallatin.


Grain Valley is a community of about 15,000 in eastern Jackson County. The City of Grain Valley and local partners have been heavily involved with revitalization efforts in the community. Recently, as part of those revitalization efforts, a survey was conducted asking for feedback on areas for future planning efforts. Downtown revitalization was one area repeatedly identified by respondents. With the community’s support, and in conjunction with local partners, the City of Grain Valley reached out to Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) and applied for the Community Empowerment Grant. Through the technical assistance and trainings provided through the Community Empowerment Grant, they will build a strong, sustainable organization to help lead downtown revitalization efforts. 

 

 

Pictured above is a building in Grain Valley’s commercial district which was provided by Grain Valley in their application.


Gallatin, the other community recently accepted into the Community Empowerment Grant program, is a community of about 1,700 and sits as the county seat of Daviess County. The City of Gallatin has been working with building and business owners concerning the direction of the downtown area and determined it was time to reach out to MMSC for assistance. With financial assistance from the Greenhills Regional Planning Commission, the City of Gallatin applied and was accepted into the program. In Gallatin, there is already a dedicated organization working to revitalize the downtown area, so MMSC is working with this organization to transition it into a comprehensive, Main Street-focused organization.

  

 

Pictured above is several of their storefronts on their commercial district which was provided by Gallatin in their application.

 

Each community showed, through its application and in conversations with various stakeholders in the community, how they were poised to implement the Main Street Approach ™ in their respective downtowns. MMSC is excited to bring technical services to each community and watch the growth of their downtowns. 

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Main Street America has updated the criteria for accreditation of local Main Street programs. Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) has been working with its local programs to ensure they are ready for the official launch of the new accreditation standards in 2024. The national criteria changed from ten standards to only six standards with a consolidation of some criteria and an emphasis on people, collaboration, and impact measurement built into the new criteria. MMSC started introducing the changes two years ago with a self-assessment in 2021 and 2022. An on-site visit took place in August that tested the application of the new criteria which MMSC introduced as a pilot program to test the new criteria in person with Main Street America staff visiting ten Missouri Main Street programs.


Seven Accredited and three Associate tier Missouri Main Street programs were visited during the weeks of August 15 - 22, 2022. While most of the visits were educational and didn’t alter the designation of accreditation, Downtown Joplin Alliance asked to be evaluated for accreditation.


Cape Girardeau, Chillicothe, Excelsior Springs, Lee’s Summit, Liberty, Warrensburg, and Washington are currently accredited with Clinton, Independence, and Joplin at the Associate tier, a few steps away from accreditation. 


Each visit to these communities included Norma Rameriz de Miess, Vice-President of Revitalization Services, and Keith Winge, MMSC’s State Community Development Director. The team spent about seven hours with each Main Street program’s leadership, staff, volunteers, partners, and city officials to learn more about the program’s successes and areas for growth or opportunities for advancement. These observations were shared in a presentation to each program’s board of directors and partners to assist in planning and action steps for implementation at the end of the visit. Overall, Norma was impressed with implementation of the new standards reflecting the partnerships and collaboration to make each community’s downtown a vibrant place. Areas that were recommended the most for further development in many of the local programs were related to volunteer engagement, packaging the measured impact of Main Street locally, and partner support efforts.

 

 


Downtown Joplin Alliance was reviewed this year with an eye on accreditation. The local Main Street program has been working to impact downtown Joplin since 1989 with some ups and down through the years. The organization reached out to MMSC in 2017 to help them focus their efforts using the Main Street principles. The board was strengthened and the committees re-energized. Now, vacancy is low, partnerships are strong, and a contract for services secured with the city. Downtown Joplin Alliance’s hard work has paid off as Main Street America and Missouri Main Street bestowed accreditation on the eighth Main Street program is Missouri.


Main Street America will be back in 2024 to assess the Accredited and Associate communities once again in Missouri Main Street tier system, when the new standards will be fully implemented nationwide. This timeline allows local Main Street program and their community to further use the standards in improving their downtown revitalization efforts. MMSC will work with its local programs to provide technical and organizational services that help them make a bigger impact for the various stakeholders within the downtown and community as a whole.

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Main Street is all about the collective effort of the community to develop and implement downtown revitalization. It takes dedicated volunteers that work hours on end to make Main Street work because success never comes easy.  While Main Street is only one facet of peoples’ lives alongside their family, job, hobbies, and more, volunteers are impacted through volunteering with opportunities to grow and explore new callings.


In appreciation for his work, Love the Harrisonville Square has nominated Barrett Welton for “I Spy…Great Work”. This nomination enters Barrett into the running for Volunteer of the Year at the 2022 Premier Downtown Revitalization Conference in August. The nomination was submitted by Amanda Stites, Executive Director from Love the Harrisonville Square:


“Barrett has been an enthusiastic member of the Promotion Committee for the past several years, and we think he truly discovered his volunteer calling over the summer of 2021 when he took on the role of event emcee for our Bicentennial Birthday Block Party on August 7, 2021. Barrett did a great job introducing the performances during the event, while also leading the effort in booking and managing the acts and arranging for the sound equipment that was needed. His hard work over many months culminated in a public bluegrass concert by three regional acts (Matchstick Sellers, Unfit Wives, and Whiskey Mash Band) which was well received by the community and well attended.”

 

Love the Harrisonville Square also submitted a second nomination for “I Spy… Great Work.” This nomination came from Jesica Junge, Board Member of Love the Harrisonville Square who nominated Amanda Stities:


“She’s the driving force behind the Love the Harrisonville Square organization.  She puts in more hours than anyone else even though she has a full-time job and a baby.”


Barrett and Amanda are not the only ones volunteering with Love the Harrisonville Square. Love the Harrisonville Square reported 955 hours of volunteer time in 2021 equating to $25,985.55, which is a huge community investment in downtown! The Independent Sector values volunteer time in Missouri at $27.21 an hour (as of April 2022).


Missouri Main Street Connection recognizes the time and sacrifices it takes to volunteer at a nonprofit. Alongside our local Main Street programs, we thank everyone who has volunteered with Main Street. Nominations for this year’s “I Spy…Great Work” have concluded, but if you see individuals in your community that are completing great work by volunteering for Main Street, contact your local Main Street program and recommend they be highlighted in the future by the local Main Street program or Missouri Main Street Connection.

 

If you want to find resources on how to recruit, train, and recognize your volunteers, look through our resource directory which is open to MMSC investors. Not an investor? Email Staci at staci@momainstreet.org to find out how.

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Volunteers are the lifeblood of Main Street. From the board of directors to committees to event volunteers, each community member that volunteers in Main Street is a Rockstar! Not only are they coming together to revitalize their downtown, reinvigorate their community, and cultivate a place to live, work, and play, they are making an economic impact! Volunteers make a significant economic impact in their community through the donation of their time and skill. The Independent Sector values volunteer time in Missouri at $27.21 (as of April 2022).


Downtown Washington has nominated Kenny Pinnell for ‘I Spy… Great Work’. This nomination enters Kenny into the running for Volunteer of the Year at the 2022 Missouri’s Premier Downtown Revitalization Conference in August. The nomination from Downtown Washington was submitted by Tyler King:

“Kenny, a longstanding volunteer and board member for Downtown Washington, Inc., embodies what a true volunteer is all about. He shows up to EVERYTHING and does a lot of behind the scenes work when no one is watching. One particular reason I am nominating him is when we have events at our downtown Farmer's Market, Kenny is always the one making sure all electrical outlets are updated and working, making sure the ice machine is cleaned and ready to go, setting up and communicating with our outside vendors to make sure they are welcomed and well attended to, having trash bags on hand when no one can find any, and always keeping us on our toes with reminders at the office when things we forget about need to be done. We enjoy his laugh, his stories, and his presence. This isn't a one-time off when we spy great work; Kenny is always doing great work and needs to be recognized for all of his efforts.”

 

Kenny is not the only one volunteering in Downtown Washington. Downtown Washington reported 9,712 hours of volunteer time in 2021 equating to $264,263.52, a huge community investment in downtown!

 

Missouri Main Street Connection recognizes the time it takes and sacrifices made to volunteer time at a nonprofit and along side our local Main Street programs thank everyone who has volunteered with Main Street. Though I Spy Great Work is currently closed, if you see individuals in your community that are completing great work, contact your local Main Street program and recommend them to be highlighted by the local Main Street program or Missouri Main Street Connection in the future. 

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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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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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