The first year of the My Community Matters grant work provided by Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) has been productive for the targeted communities of the program. The ten communities receiving services through the My Community Matters initiative are Brunswick, Butler, Concordia, Kirksville, Knob Noster, Odessa, Monroe City, Rockaway Beach, Sikeston, and Willow Springs. All ten communities have been visited at least once by MMSC staff and consultants with services tailored to their community and revitalization work.
The My Community Matters Initiative is provided by MMSC in partnership with USDA through their Rural Community Development Initiative grant. The initiative provides services, over two years, centered around the four points of the Main Street Approach and how it can further impact these communities that are relatively new to the Main Street methodology.
Mindy Hays with Downtown Monroe City (DTMC) said, “The level of support and expertise DTMC has received through the My Community Matters Grant and our partnership with Missouri Main Street has been instrumental in our success! The framework and guidance they provide is what will help us be successful not only now, but long term."
In 2019, evaluation and educational work was performed in the community and examined the economic activity of each using demographic and assessment data to help them better understand their dynamics from an economic perspective. This type of assessment is beneficial to the decision-making process needed for downtown revitalization. It helps the community understand the business needs their citizens leave the community for and gives them guidance for what types of businesses that could be successful in their downtown.
(Jim Thompson presenting in Butler, MO.)
This year services focused on the design and promotion points of the Main Street Four-Point Approach. Randy Wilson, architect for South Carolina Main Street and Community Design Solutions, along with Ben Muldrow, Partner at Arnett Muldrow, brought their expertise to Missouri. MMSC provided not only design services to the communities, but the service also included streetscape renderings in each community. These visuals were great in getting the Main Street organization excited to begin work on rehabilitating their historic buildings and downtown. Additionally, these images are a helpful tool to get more community members involved in the Main Street organization when they can easily see the impact the organization can make downtown.
(Streetscape rendering of downtown Monroe City, MO.)
(Façade rendering for Monroe City, MO.)
You can read the complete Design Report which includes other renderings of downtown Monroe City and suggestions for downtown revitalization through this link:
MMSC provided promotion training and a branding system for the downtown and community to utilize in telling their unique story. The branding helps tell a cohesive story of Rockaway Beach to both citizens and visitors showcasing the many assets that can be found there and presenting the community as a destination. Here are some examples from Rockaway Beach:
The communities that participated felt that the tools provided would help them motivate and inspire the whole community in the downtown revitalization efforts. Additional services in 2020 will include entrepreneurial and organization training for the Main Street Board of Directors in each community.