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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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Milestones, collaboration, and activation have been the themes of the most recent progress from the three-pilot urban Main Street programs in St. Louis. – Dutchtown Main Streets, Laclede’s Landing Main Street, and Delmar Main Street. Missouri Main Street Connection began the St. Louis Main Streets pilot program in late 2019 as a partnership with the St. Louis Development Corporation (SLDC). 


Dutchtown Main Streets, a district south of the city center, began transitioning a business owners’ group into a Main Street program in late 2019 by educating the board of directors on Main Street principles, creating implementation-oriented committees, and learning how to measure the impact of projects and new businesses in the district.  Over the past three-to-six months the Main Street program has been focused on understanding and interpreting demographic and market information while identifying vacant properties in the district that are ready for development or need to be rehabilitated before development can take place.  The district is working with the Coro Fellowship Program to help establish tools for collecting economic data, reporting that data, and inventorying vacant properties.  The Coro Fellowship Program develops emerging leaders to work and lead across different sectors by equipping them with knowledge, skills, and networks to accelerate positive change. 

 

 

 

Laclede’s Landing Main Street began their Main Street program in 2021 with the goal of transitioning from what was once a night club focused district into a neighborhood district. They are utilizing their newly established transformation strategies of activating the riverfront and developing neighborhood goods and services to capitalize and continue on the work and planning that has already been completed by stakeholders, the city, and other entities. The development of more vacant upper story housing is one way they are planning to achieve their transformation strategies while building upon work that had already been taking place. There are developers already working with Laclede’s Landing Main Street on housing projects within the district which will bring more residents to what they call the “oasis of the city” tucked between the Martin Luther King and the Eads Bridges.  Related to the riverfront activation, district stakeholders and the city have prioritized the riverfront as seen in previous plans that have been developed by the city and conversations with MMSC and other organizations in the past. It is an asset that has not been capitalized on which provides opportunities for activation and additional retail while also serving as the living room for the neighborhood and visitors.  Working with the district Main Street program, conceptual documents are being developed for the riverfront including space for activation and retail as well as additional housing development.  The plans are still in the works but will follow the ideas of previous plans with the idea of phased implementation to bring them to fruition.  Stay tuned for more details in the months to come.  (The photo below is from a previous conceptual plan developed to activate the riverfront.)

 

 


November marks the one-year anniversary of Delmar Main Street’s program. November of 2021 was the kick-off stakeholder input meetings at St. Louis ArtWorks. Delmar Main Street did a repeat of that event for their anniversary giving an update on the past year to include the organizational accomplishments of forming a board of directors and Main Street committees. They also shared the committee work thus far, the impact of events they hosted, and the grants they have received for various projects—including the Creative Space Activation Grant, provided by MMSC, which will be used for the Delmar Main Street’s Transit Wall Transformation Project. The group also gave time for stakeholders to provide feedback on certain proposed projects and events for the next year. Delmar’s transformation strategies were developed with the valuable input from that first stakeholder input session in 2021 – creating people-centered places and promoting entrepreneurship and equitable development. Demographic and market information supports these strategies which focus on activating the boulevard with small businesses run by small business owners from the neighborhood while promoting ownership and equity development for those entrepreneurs. 

 

 


2023 will bring further development and services including the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a partner with Missouri Main Street Connection to bring entrepreneurial services and training to the St. Louis Main Streets program.  With economic development at the core of Main Street, this work will help build and develop small business owners, and provide access to capital and wealth-building tools to assist them in their entrepreneurial journey.  Stay tuned.

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Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) launched St. Louis Main Streets as a pilot program in late 2019 and accepted the first district in February of 2020, before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dutchtown was the first district, followed by Laclede’s Landing in August of 2020, and Delmar in June of 2021. Each attended a workshop prior to applying for the pilot program and were selected through a competitive application process. 


Each district reflects the unique qualities of its history, layout, and residents making them very different – Dutchtown is more of a neighborhood commercial district with a large amount of diversity from various backgrounds. Laclede’s Landing is where St. Louis began and the district only encompasses a few blocks with about 50 residents. Delmar is a linear district that is very automobile-centric with Delmar Boulevard and its long history of dividing the district, and even the city, to the north and south.


By the beginning of 2022, each district had formed their non-profit Main Street program with a board of directors and Main Street committees. Through this process, MMSC has helped them assess their district with the various stakeholder groups, gathered information from the residents, provided training on Main Street principles, and recommended Transformation Strategies (priorities) for each district. 

  

 


Dutchtown Main Streets has adopted two Transformation Strategies: serving the neighborhood and entrepreneurship development. Their district has a lot of families and they want activities, businesses, and services for the young and old. With the Neighborhood Innovation Center in the heart of the district, the entrepreneurship strategy made sense to help support those already in the district as well as to help grow small business owners within the district to fill the commercial vacancies and increase building ownership.

   

 


Laclede’s Landing Main Street is considering the strategies of riverfront activation and neighborhood goods and services. Building owners and developers have been working on upper floor housing for a few years because the district wants to be a neighborhood, not just a place to work or visit. To support this housing initiative, the strategy of neighborhood goods and services will cater to those new residents with places to eat, buy groceries, relax in the evening, or stroll with their dogs. The riverfront activation is a strategy to leverage the beautiful and under-utilized Mississippi River area. The Main Street group wants to add event space, both indoors and out, promote a bike rental business, add a marina, and create a river walk.

 

 

 

Delmar Main Street is reviewing their Transformation Strategy recommendations of people-centered places and entrepreneurship & equitable development.  There are several spots along Delmar Boulevard to create people-centered pop-up shops or food truck villages to test the market for future, more permanent businesses.  Delmar Main Street will now consider whether art and placemaking amenities can extend along the boulevard to bring people to the district from the adjacent neighborhoods to support the local businesses. There are already many small business owners in the district and the Main Street program will need to support those early entrepreneurs while attracting and equipping new business owners for success. These are some of the areas of work for the Delmar Main Street group.

 

Future work by MMSC and the St. Louis Main Streets districts will include diving into market and demographic data to help with decisions about retention and recruitment of new businesses, marketing properties for development, and supporting entrepreneurship through a partnership with Main Street America and the Kauffman Foundation.  Stay tuned for future updates on these three districts. 

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Through 2021, Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) has been working with our St. Louis Main Streets districts to educate them on the Main Street Approach™, establish their Board and committees, and prioritize the goals for their districts to succeed.


Following visits from consultants specializing in all areas of the Main Street Approach™, Dutchtown Main Streets was presented with and accepted two Transformation Strategies that will guide their organization’s revitalization work. Their guiding Transformation Strategies are Entrepreneurship Development and Serving the Neighborhood. These strategies build on the entrepreneurial spirit that is already present and working in Dutchtown as well as the residential density that surrounds the commercial district.


The Laclede’s Landing Neighborhood Association has worked to establish their Board of Directors and set up committees. MMSC worked with the organization to gain insight from the district’s stakeholders including property owners, business owners, and residents to better inform their revitalization work. In November, MMSC staff and our team of consultants will work with Laclede’s Landing to determine next steps for the organization to take in utilizing the Main Street Approach™ for their district revitalization.


MMSC has recently accepted the third St. Louis Main Streets district into the pilot program. Delmar Main Streets has established their Board of Directors and are in the early stages of learning how best to utilize the Main Street Approach™ in their district by setting up their committees and gathering neighborhood input. MMSC’s consultant team will work with the district to determine the organization and district brand as well as the collective vision for the district.


St. Louis Main Streets is a pilot urban Main Street program created by Missouri Main Street Connection through partnership with the St. Louis Development Corporation to bring the Main Street Approach™ to three commercial districts in St. Louis.


If you have any questions regarding the St. Louis Main Streets pilot program, MMSC, or the Main Street Approach™ call our office at 417-334-3014 or email us at  info@momainstreet.org.

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