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



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The pandemic has been a true test of the resiliency for communities across Missouri. As we continue to navigate a world still battling various strains of the Coronavirus, many communities across Missouri have started to make a comeback. They have adapted their business model, implemented health and safety protocols in their business, and have received aid from private and public sources to get the help they need to take their business to the next level meeting the needs of today’s consumers.  This is true for Earl “Chip” Smith Jr. who is a recipient of the Downtown Strong Grant that Missouri Main Street Connection provided in partnership with the Economic Development Administration in 2021.


In early 2019, prior to the start of the pandemic, Chip quit his job to start his own business, Cross Grand, in a building in the Dutchtown neighborhood of St. Louis. He anticipated a robust business of interior photography and video shoots of weddings, sports, and special events using his honed skills of narrative building, photography, videography, and other mediums to tell people’s stories well! His plan was to use his indoor space at 3304 Meramec as a multi-purpose space to facilitate shoots and consultations. These dreams were soon halted as the pandemic took over and most in person events were postponed or cancelled. Yet Chip didn’t let the pandemic squash his dreams and successfully pivoted to virtual videography as a new revenue stream.  


As the pandemic continued through 2020 and into 2021, Chip knew that his pivot to include virtual videography would not be enough to continue to sustain him for much longer and he needed to set himself up to take advantage of the market as soon as things started opening up again. That is when he took advantage of Missouri Main Street’s new Downtown Strong grant that opened in 2021 to Missouri Main Street programs, of which Downtown Dutchtown was a part of the new St. Louis Main Streets pilot program. Chip saw this grant opportunity that would provide direct business consultations to support downtown businesses through a variety of services.  He applied and was awarded the grant. Chip was paired with BOLD Marketing to rework his website in order to take his creative agency to the next level and increase his sales.  He also needed help to rethink creative ways he could increase his return on investment and better utilize his space.

BOLD Marketing has worked with Chip to revamp his website and rethink what he was doing and how he was doing it. Setting him up for success by teaching him how to market himself and his new refreshed website. They had quickly figured out Chip needed to up his game – Chip said “They helped my business by simply giving me confidence in showing off my website. In the world we are living in now it's all about image and I think my new website represents what Cross Grand is – Quality!”  As part of the grant, Chip received training on managing his website and utilizing marketing tactics to grow his business.


EDA Acknowledgment Statement

This article was 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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Communities of every size have buildings they consider ‘white elephants’ that are hard to tackle. For Cape Girardeau, it was the old Marquette and H&H buildings. until a locally-led effort brought Old Town Cape, the City of Cape Girardeau, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and developer such as Codefi and other local developers together. This partnership led to the rehabilitation that won the “Best Large-Scale Project” in 2019. Since the completion of this large-scale project, the tide of economic success has swept across the downtown district and raised the boats of many small businesses as well as given others reason to set their own boats asail on the adventure of starting their own business or renovating their own property.

The accomplishments that the project has achieved in the community are outstanding both on an economic and preservation standpoint. Coordinator of the Historic Preservation Program at Southeast Missouri State University, Dr. Steven Hoffman, made this remark about the project’s historical integrity:

               “Both properties have outstanding architectural features from the early 20th century that were neglected due to the time, money, and work it takes to own a building. Thankfully by using historic tax credits and following the Secretary of Interior’s Standards, the project was able to be publicly and privately funded to restore this amazing building that has an incredible amount of detail that cannot be matched by modern construction.  For instance, the tile and furnishings call back to its previous life while the cornice that had been previously removed was rebuilt.”


Public and private funding is an important aspect of Main Street because when used together they can get projects moving in the right direction by using tools like the historic tax credit and Tax Increment Financing (TIF). The impact that rehabilitating an old building is huge because of the revenue generated from businesses utilizing it for commerce as well as increasing property value—far exceeding the revenue beforehand. Former Cape Girardeau Mayor, Bob Fox, made this remark about the project’s economic impact:

“The Marquette and H&H building rehabilitation was a game changer for Cape Girardeau. It took the Marquette, which was a difficult building to rehabilitate due to it being all concrete, and the H&H and turned them into a space that now welcomes visitors from all over to downtown. The hotel houses many businesses and organizations in amazing offices spaces equipped with conference rooms for collaboration.”


The block that these properties sit on is now alive thanks to the development that used these two fantastic, historic buildings and breathed new life into them with help from the local community. That is one of the many distinctions of Main Street, that it is not just developers making money by putting a building back in service, but that the community has an integral part as a partner to inject new life into and invest in downtown. 


Main Street also has a comprehensive mindset that guided the connector of this development, Old Town Cape, to identify 3 components for this property, which were space, technology, and talent. Executive Director of Old Town Cape Liz Haynes remarked:

“The available building [that is the Marquette building] would house a commercial space to be a hub for the Marquette tech district. After renovating the over 1,450 sq. ft. Marquette building, installing state of the art fiberoptic and Wi-Fi for the downtown Cape Girardeau area, and partnering with Codefi to provide training for tech focused careers, we could start to see the impact right away. Everyone started to look at downtown as a viable location to start their business because of access to high speed Wi-Fi for businesses which came as an amenity provided by this development. Like the saying goes everyone wants to be a part of a winning community.”

Old Town Cape has reported 4+ new business opening downtown especially in the blocks surrounding the development with more still to come. While many times Main Street is about a bunch of small efforts building into big change, Old Town Cape shows us that in some special cases, with just the right property and partners, a big project can be a catalyst for a bunch of smaller projects to build on the success of Main Street. This is a perfect example of how the heart of Main Street, historic preservation, can save and rehab a vacant property that impacts local job markets and supports small businesses. 

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A good idea doesn’t always translate into a successful business.  There are steps and details along the way that are necessary but often overlooked. The Hive by Honey Creek was one of those “good ideas.”  The entrepreneurial minds of a sister duo in Lebanon, Missouri had already successfully created Honey Creek Media when they had the idea for “The Hive.”  In their words, “a space for makers to make, minds to grow, ideas to form, and networking to thrive.”  A traditional hive is full of worker bees and that’s what these sisters wanted to foster. The Hive by Honey Creek was to be centered around co-working and rental event space. They had purchased a historic building in downtown Lebanon that was being renovated…but they needed help with the details.

They saw the Downtown Strong grant as an opportunity to move their idea forward. They applied and asked for someone to help in evaluating their idea and developing a business plan. BOLD Marketing assisted in the development of their process, amenities, pricing comparisons, the structure of their leases and rental agreements, and even a liquor license for events. In addition, BOLD helped them develop a “community norms” document or expected behavior for their tenants. To wrap it up, BOLD had it all evaluated by an attorney.


It is the details that can make or break a business. The Lebanon sister duo was delighted and grateful they used the Downtown Strong grant to help with their business details. In their words, “As entrepreneurs in a rural community, we are passionate about opening our doors and creating a home, a place for people to gather, a space to cultivate ideas and secure dreams, a site to celebrate, a destination.”   Now they have the plan and tools to do it.

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Excelsior Springs is a historic town that has chosen to cultivate the arts and entertainment in their community. This focus is why we have chosen to highlight them in celebration of 1 Billion & Rising with the story of how they saved and filled a vacant old church, developed a community asset, and provided the perfect place for a quality community theater to call its home. This project contributed to Missouri reaching $1 Billion in public and private investments.

The building at 114 North Marietta sat empty for a long time after the Marietta Baptist Church closed its doors. As time went by, the building remained vacant and deteriorated, as many old buildings do. The former church, built in 1903, began to face challenges that many long-time vacant buildings do, which made it less appealing for potential tenants resulting in it being classified as blighted. Thankfully, through a partnership in the DREAM initiative between the City of Excelsior Springs and the Downtown Excelsior Partnership, the building saw several major improvements using Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to get it ready for the right tenant. The extent of the work that was done included a new roof, paint, electrical, HVAC, and various other small things.



With the building stabilized, it was ready for a buyer to continue the rehabilitation work to their own specification. Downtown Excelsior Partnership put the property on the market. The Slightly Off Broadway Theatre was looking for a new home, viewed the building, and fell in love the character and space it provided. The building became Slightly Off Broadway’s new home after six years of traveling performances following the loss of their original home in 2004. Kristi Shewell, the Board President and Resident Office Manager of Slightly Off Broadway Theatre, remarked “This building is truly perfect for us. The acoustics were good and we continue to optimize the quality of our sound through the carpet we installed and the baffles along the walls and on the ceiling. With the space this building provides, we were able to enclose the balcony for a place for our band to perform when they are not needed on stage.”



The development that went into this building has not only helped with recruiting businesses to grow the downtown district in the early 2000’s, but it also continues to draw people Downtown and contribute to Downtown Excelsior Springs’ nightlife. Even more, through partnering with Downtown Excelsior Partnership for their events, the theater has been able to host street performances on their off weekends and provide other entertainment downtown in seeing a show! Slightly Off Broadway has a variety of offerings for their community to satisfy anyone’s theater needs including small musicals, large musicals, straight plays, comedies, mysteries, Christmas shows, music review shows, and even a kid’s theatre camp and special performance for their parents. The kid’s theatre camp is done in partnership with the Excelsior Springs school district and provides elementary, middle school, and high school students with the opportunity to learn theater skills like projection, behind the scenes tech, and how to audition. This is accomplished through a week-long camp that is 5 hours a day where parents can see the fruit of their child’s participation in a production on the last day.



The arts are a very important aspect of community culture and having a place to come together to laugh, cry, and find joy in stories being brought to life on stage is simply irreplaceable. The theatre continues to represent why the arts are important as they draw attendees from the community and across the region. Lyndsey Baxter, the Executive Director of Downtown Excelsior Partnership, remarked, “Thanks to the theatre, this pretty significant square space building which is extremely difficult for small retail to fill is being utilized to its fullest potential as they continue to plan on utilizing the whole building resulting in this great historic building not remaining vacant.” 

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This year’s conference, taking place in Kansas City, Missouri, is Places Reimagined! Return in-person for Missouri’s Premier Downtown Revitalization Conference as we visit this theme that will use place-based economics and other placemaking strategies to highlight why your community matters.


While the past two years has changed a lot for many communities, it has solidified the need for meaningful places. As many people stayed local and explored their areas instead of traveling far away, communities, of all sizes, discovered that they too can be places people want to visit. Journey with us in learning what makes a place vibrant, healthy, and authentic. Missouri is home to many regions with their own unique art, heritage, and mix of cultures that have untapped potential to reshape communities and transform them into incredible places.


At conference you will find new ideas for making places meaningful and working with your community to become a place that everyone can call home. Placemaking and livability help create public spaces that respond to the needs of the community. You will learn about initiatives that will generate downtowns that are authentic, dynamic, and flourishing as well as vibrant and healthy.


Opening Reception/Networking Opportunity – Hotel Kansas City

Wednesday, August 3, 2022—5:30 pm to 7:00 pm

Missouri Main Street Connection has a special treat for those that arrive on Wednesday—a visit within walking distance from the Kansas City Marriott Downtown to the beautiful, historic Hotel Kansas City, formerly the Kansas City Club! The Kansas City Club, established in 1882, was one of the Midwest’s premier social clubs. The Club built a clubhouse at the corner of 13th and Baltimore Avenue in 1922. After the Kansas City Club moved to a new location in 2002, the building was transitioned into an events space on the first six floors and the rooftop. The building was then sold and began a year and a half of renovations, starting in May 2019, for Hotel Kansas City’s grand opening in October 2020. The 15th floor, which held an outdoor garden, was transitioned into downtown Kansas City’s only indoor/outdoor events-specific venue. We will meet in the Starlight Ballroom and Terrace for a reception with light appetizers during which tours of the building will be given in small groups on a rotating basis. Attendees who want to participate in this immersive experience and network with other downtown professionals can purchase a ticket that includes one drink ticket when registration opens.  We will meet in the front lobby of the Kansas City Marriott Downtown beginning at 5:15 pm to walk in groups to Hotel Kansas City.

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Ben White »

The Historic Preservation committee of Missouri Main Street Connection continues to provide Missouri Main Street organizations, building owners, and business owners with an innovative consultation service, the “Doctor Is In.” This service offers participants the chance to get expert advice from a diverse group of professionals, volunteering their time to address preservation-related issues. In February, the “Doctor Is In” consultation provided information to Reverend Kary Mann, the Reverend of Trinity Episcopal in Independence, Missouri.



The Trinity Episcopal church has had its doors open for weekly services since 1881 and was frequented by First Lady Bess Wallace Truman and President Harry S. Truman and was the location where they were married. Reverend Mann consulted with the “Doctors” in February as she needed help locating additional contractors for their building renovation that will address the church’s needs for measures to combat moisture coming into the building, including brick repointing, appropriate guttering, restoration of the interior plaster walls, and painting. The Historic Preservation Committee was able to provide Reverend Mann a list of local contractors as well as contractors from across Missouri that could do all of the work or could specialize on certain aspects of the building renovation. Also, since this is a major project, a diverse mix of grants, local funds, and other funding options will need to be used for this project. The “Doctors” outlined several possible grant and other funding options for these efforts. In addition, Resource Development Coordinator Katelyn Brotherton provided possible grant opportunities for which Reverend Mann could be eligible to apply. The Historic Preservation Committee also talked about other funding opportunities, including how to raise money locally for these revitalization efforts. As a result, Reverend Mann is applying for a grant through the National Trust’s Fund for Sacred Places, a grant centered on helping places of worship. As this work progresses, Missouri Main Street Connection will provide updates on the efforts of Trinity Episcopal Church.



This service is available to all communities in good standing in the top 3 tiers: Accredited, Associate, and Affiliate. Community Empowerment Grant and St. Louis Main Street communities/districts are also eligible as communities in the Affiliate Tier. To see if your community is represented on this list, click here: Missouri Main Street Connection Tiers Lists (as of March 4th).

The Historic Preservation Committee can consult on a wide range of preservation-related questions. You can find the application for this service here: Doctor Is In HP 2022. All applications can be submitted to Program Outreach Specialist, Ben White, who will reach out for any additional information the committee may need to get a full picture of the applicant’s needs. You may be asked to provide more pictures and documentation, depending on what “Doctors” need in order to have an educated conversation and to have the full picture of your needs. Please be sure to submit all requested supporting documents as outlined in the application form.  The application is simple and serves as the initial communication with Ben. The applicant will then be invited to a Zoom meeting to explain and discuss the problem with the “Doctors” at which time the “Doctors” will provide feedback. Then, Ben will provide any additional feedback and follow-up. Reach out to Ben with any questions. We are looking forward to seeing your submission!

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Ben White »

The National Register for Historic Places contains many amazing places that have historical and/or architectural significance that can aid communities in pursuing revitalization. Some examples include the Cape Girardeau Commercial Historic District, the Hall of Waters in Excelsior Springs, and the Joplin YMCA building. The National Register of Historic Places is a list honoring districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that meet the criteria of significance. The significance falls into several categories, but the predominant ones are location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association to a specific era, person, and event within the past 50 years. You can learn more about these criteria by reading National Register Bulletin 15: How to Apply the National Register Criteria for Evaluation. 


The National Register designation of districts and landmarks is a valuable tool in the preservation tool belt. However, there are a lot of misconceptions about what this designation means.  


First, the government can’t tell you what to do when renovating your building. This designation does not prohibit work from occurring on the interior or exterior of the building and the government will not be able to claim you violated a law. The designation does provide the guidelines for renovations to follow through the Secretary of Interior’s Standards in order to retain the historic significance of the building that qualifies it for designation and what makes it attractive to heritage travelers. Therefore, in following the established guidelines you are able to have a greater return on investment on your renovation through the economic benefits it provides, especially when it comes to heritage tourism.


Second, you don’t have to allow public access to your property. If you are listing your residence, for instance, this does not open your property to give visitors free reign to step on your property for a tour. Property rights laws still apply, providing that security.  However, it means that there is formal recognition of the property’s historical and/or architectural significance.  


Many heritage travelers look for these designated historic places in which to visit and spend money, so going through the formal designation process is important to attract these kinds of people. Heritage travelers have been shown to spend 2.5 times more than ordinary travelers when visiting communities. In addition, it opens up the property for potential preservation incentives including state and federal grants and tax credits for rehabilitation. This helps drive down the cost of renovation and redevelopment and strengthens the building’s standing in the community. 


To learn more about the process of listing a building or historic district on the National Register of Historic places, visit the Missouri State Historic Preservation Office here: https://mostateparks.com/page/85341/national-register-historic-places  

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Cape Girardeau, Missouri sits on the banks of the Mississippi River and is the home of over 300 downtown businesses and 4500 downtown residents. It has one of the largest Main Street districts in the nation encompassing 130 blocks and was a 2015 recipient of the Great American Main Street Award through the National Main Street Center. Receiving a Great American Main Street Award is a distinguished honor of recognition for Main Street programs that have demonstrated exceptional use of the Main Street Approach™ and have a strong organizational capacity spurring community transformation and historic preservation, all of which is true for Old Town Cape. Cape Girardeau is truly an amazing place!



Cape Girardeau continues to develop, seeing more business and more people, as Old Town Cape, the Accredited Main Street Organization for Cape Girardeau, and other community partners work together towards a strong, vibrant, and diverse community. Old Town Cape viewed the Downtown Strong grant as a great opportunity to strategically focus their organizational capacity and to flesh out plans to address some ongoing community concerns around crime, homelessness, and safety. After having success in aiding development downtown through initiatives and partnerships that have brought projects downtown increasing the number of jobs and businesses and developing the streetscape of downtown, they wanted to use the grant to make the downtown environment even more conducive to growth.

These community concerns affect especially the local citizens’ view of downtown and Old Town Cape wanted to address the issue head-on. They are receiving assistance through the Downtown Strong Grant to develop an Amenities Plan to address community concerns, help create a more positive attitude toward downtown by locals and visitors alike, and create a more welcoming and safer environment.

After a two-day site visit, fact-finding, and interviews with key community and downtown stakeholders, Jay Schlinsog of Downtown Professionals Network assisted in the development of a two-pronged plan, looking at specific policies that can impact and manage homelessness, crime, and the environment by addressing lighting, activities, storefronts, and litter. Through the development of this strategic plan, Old Town Cape has been able to engage with additional partners, learn more about local services, and be more aware of the situation. Now that they are in the initial steps of implementing components of the plan, there are countless possibilities of how Cape Girardeau will begin to tackle the concerns of its community.

To impact some lighting concerns, the police are using a newly acquired lighting trailer to temporarily illuminate dark areas of a parking lot. The Old Town Cape Board held one of their recent meetings at the newly renovated home of a local social service agency downtown that addresses homelessness issues. The Board gained first-hand insight on the homelessness issues and ways to make an impact. Along with developing a strong partnership with an organization that can help in constructive and restorative ways, they are learning tips they can pass on to businesses as well.



Old Town Cape, through the Downtown Strong Grant, is working to foster a safer and more welcoming environment that in turn will promote even more growth, and allow them to better serve their community.


The service highlighted 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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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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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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