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.

 

Blog

Missouri Main Street Blog Section

Blog Home > Tags > Master Plan

The Downtown Strong: Building Resilient Economies Grant is a grant provided by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) through Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) that continues to impact Missouri communities.

Communities across Missouri run successful farmers’ markets that grow their local economy through entrepreneurial and micro business development as well as business growth resulting in establishing brick-and-mortar locations in downtown storefronts. These farmers’ markets have been growing in popularity over the years and the COVID-19 pandemic served as a catalyst for their growth as people searched for safe environments and ways to support local economies. Downtown farmers’ markets are a source of downtown activity that bring people downtown and provide safe environments for people to shop local while keeping their money in the local economy and supporting local businesses as the downtown businesses reopened. In Missouri Main Street’s network Old Town Cape, Main Street Warrensburg, Downtown Joplin Alliance, Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, and Historic Downtown Liberty are farmers’ markets run by Accredited Main Street programs.   

 

 


Toward the end of the COVID-19 pandemic shut down in Missouri, Main Street Warrensburg saw a significant increase in the number of vendors and shoppers at their market. This increased interest in the downtown farmers’ market indicated to them that they had an opportunity to recruit and transition some of the vendors into brick-and-mortar businesses as well as solidify shoppers’ support of downtown. In addition, with all the buzz around the farmers’ market they could now revisit their dream of having a permanent location for their farmers’ market. 


The Warrensburg Farmers’ Market has been located in various downtown locations since its inception in 1996. As the market grew, the need for a permanent dedicated space became clear. Warrensburg Main Street, wanting to ensure the market stayed downtown, saw the opportunity to develop a plan through the Downtown Strong Grant. They applied for and received services from the Downtown Strong Grant to develop a master plan that would provide the tools needed to move their vision forward.

 



Initially, Warrensburg Main Street was considering a partnership with a downtown church and began discussions regarding a long-term lease of property that could serve as a more permanent location for the market. As discussions progressed, it became clear that a partnership with the city was a more sustainable and appropriate solution. A site was located on the west edge of downtown that encompassed existing parking lots and an obscure open space. Their grant consultant, Russ Volmert with FORA Planning, noted that these spaces could be converted into a dynamic, beautiful new public space. He envisioned the space becoming a ‘town commons,’ “a place where the community can thrive in the downtown and a place for the greater Warrensburg community.”

 



Through discussions with key stakeholders from Warrensburg Main Street and the City, Russ developed project goals and a scope of work. He would provide a site inventory/analysis, a schematic master plan, and preliminary cost estimates. Together, these could be used to generate support and help with future fundraising as well as in grant applications. The plan would create a multi-use space that could provide parking, recreation, event space, and a permanent home for the Downtown Warrensburg Farmers’ Market. More than a mere narrative it would be artistic and beautiful, adding to the aesthetic of Downtown Warrensburg and would attract people even when there is no programmed event scheduled.


Working with FORA Planning meant that both the organization’s eight-year discussion of a downtown public space and a permanent downtown location for their farmers’ market were finally within their grasp.

 

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.

Comments 0 Rating: Be the first person to rate this post.

The City of Canton, Missouri and the local Main Street program, Canton Main Street, boldly joined forces to enhance their community economically and socially.  Canton is located in the northeast corner of the state on the Mississippi River with a population of 2,455 and is home to Culver-Stockton College.  It is a rural community with farming as one of the main industries, which serves as a port for grain distribution using the river and railroad. 


The local Main Street program began in late 2013 with a group of downtown stakeholders wanting to improve the trajectory of their downtown.  Like many downtowns, Canton saw years of deferred building maintenance, absentee property owners, and increased storefront vacancies.  Other issues were commercial retail space used for storage or part-time or hobby business owners with very limited store hours.  The goal of the small group was to start a Main Street program and turn that situation around. 


Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC), using the Affiliate Grant Program (now called the Community Empowerment Grant), partnered with city officials and district stakeholder to form a not-for-profit Main Street organization using the 40-plus year template of the National Main Street Center to form a board of directors, utilize Main Street ApproachTM committees, and implement projects and initiatives using economic development-based action plans.  This partnership and implementation of the Main Street Approach™ created Canton Main Street. Canton Main Street utilized additional grants and services from MMSC to gather economic and market demographics, provide board training and support, assist in developing a list of priorities, and strengthen stakeholder relationships.  All of these activities lead to the community wanting more.  The leadership in downtown and throughout the city wanted to use the Main Street ApproachTM to provide a focused direction for the future of the entire community.  That is where the idea of a community-wide master plan was born. 

 

 

 

Through a partnership with the City of Canton, Canton Main Street, community stakeholders, and Missouri Main Street, the process of planning began in February of 2020, right before the COVID-19 pandemic began.  This first meeting set the foundation for the Master Plan by meeting with various stakeholder groups for a larger community input session to gather viewpoints of the current community assets, what the community would like to see in the future, and how the community and downtown can be activated.  The consultants, representing the Main Street comprehensive approach to vibrant community development brought their expertise to the input sessions but also began formulating themes or focus areas.  Main Street calls these focus areas Transformation Strategies which help guide the community development activities from brainstorming to funding to implementation. 

 

 

 

Future visits both virtually and in-person helped to refine these strategies and put more detail to the plan with the outcome being a 96-page document with visuals for potential projects, guidelines of how to implement, and recommendations on potential funding sources.  The report was presented in November of 2021 to a packed house at the new City Hall building.   Wayfinding signs, building renderings, new branding for downtown and the community, and business recruitment tactics were included in the plan and were featured during the presentation. 


Following the adoption of the plan, MMSC checks in with the leadership of Canton on their implementation progress, helps to remove obstacles, or assists with partnerships as the community moves through the timeline of implementation as outlined in the plan.  


 



MMSC provided 60% of the overall costs for the City of Canton Master Plan and the community contributed the remaining 40%.  MMSC provided a team of professionals to lead the community vision and provided the technical resources and trainings throughout the implementation of the plan’s goals and objectives.  If your Main Street community is interested in a community-wide Master Plan, please reach out to 
Comments 0 Rating: Be the first person to rate this post.
Page 1 of 1
First Previous
1
Next Last
Pages :