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.

 

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AUTHOR
Ben White »

Our Affiliate Tier is home to many different types of communities from urban pilot programs enrolled in Saint Louis Main Streets, community programs getting started through the Community Empowerment Grant (CEG) program, and communities that have graduated out of the CEG program and are strong, sustainable revitalization organizations like the Historic River District, the Main Street program in Ozark, Missouri.

 

The Historic River District fully utilized their time in the Community Empowerment Grant program (formerly the Affiliate Grant Program) and built the foundation of a strong, sustainable organization that is making an impact in downtown Ozark. Chris Schafer, the President of Historic River District, remarked about their organizations time in the CEG program:

 

“I would recommend the grant services to anyone that is looking to improve their community. The training and structure that was given through these grant services were second to none from an organization (Main Street) that truly understands what it takes to improve your downtown community. It is unbelievable how much support and information is available on what to do to improve your community and how to go about it. The training opportunities that were afforded to us gave the direction and guidance for what each committee needed to work."

 

Chris Schafer lists the amazing things that have happened in their community since graduating out of the Community Empowerment Grant from placemaking and beautification to community amenities to even events:

• A veterans tribute on the anniversary of the end of the WWI in conjunction with the Christian County Museum and the local American Legion;

• Trunk or Treat Event on the Square;

• Cruising the Square event;

• The Heart of Ozark Gala;

• Haunted Walking Tour program in the fall;

• Friday Night Parade of Lights;

• A beautiful mural along South Jackson Street; and

• A new Gazebo on the Christian County square.

 

"This Affiliate Grant also helped us to build strong relationships with both city and county government. It has been a blessing to our organization and our community," Chris Schafer.

 

If you are interested in revitalizing your downtown using the structured services and resources of the Community Empowerment Grant program, please reach out to Program Outreach Specialist Ben White at ben@momainstreet.org or (816) 560-1722 for more information.

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The USDA Rural Grant named by Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) the My Community Matters Grant ended in 2021 after providing over 29 services for 10 different Main Street districts.  The services provided followed the National Main Street Four-Points of Design, Economic Vitality, Organization, and Promotion for the following communities: Brunswick, Butler, Canton, Concordia, Fayette, Kirksville, Knob Noster, Odessa, Monroe City, Rockaway Beach, Sikeston, and Willow Springs.

 

The services provided ranged from branding and marketing, development of communication tools, business development, store design consultations, façade photo-renderings, placemaking, streetscape design, board and volunteer development, and upper floor housing development. We have shared many of the products developed over the past 2 years of the grant and would like to share some of the highlights from various communities.

 

Communications Tools

 

Fayette Main Street participated in the IMPACT Communications exercise with 4 other Main Street organizations. This exercise involved the board of directors to assist in the creation of communications fact sheets to help demonstrate the impact of downtown and Main Street to various stakeholders within and outside the community.

Marketing Tools

Downtown Monroe City’s Main Street organization plans an annual fundraiser called the Pig and Swig to promote the agricultural heritage of their community. Ben Muldrow, branding specialist, created a full branding toolkit for the organization and their events.

 

Streetscape Designs

Knob Noster’s downtown district received a streetscape design for State Street from Andy Kalback. Andy provided not only recommendations about the design of the street and sidewalks but also provided placemaking suggestions for parklets and fun, creative crosswalks.

 

Façade Photo Renderings

Randy Wilson, architect and design specialist, provided façade renderings for almost every community that participated in the My Community Matters grant program. Many have been implemented with plans for many others to be implemented soon. Photo renderings provide guidance, inspiration, and details on the potential for a building that is sought out by the owners or city officials. Many times a photo rendering can be accompanied by a façade grant program.

 

While the My Community Matters grant program is coming to an end, the impacts of the program are still being measured. As the projects in these Main Street districts continue to develop and come to fruition, the impact will be measured from dollars invested to businesses opened and jobs created. If your Main Street program or downtown district is interested in receiving services like those outlined above, reach out to Missouri Main Street or check out the Service Directory here. 

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There is a lot of action in the Downtown Strong Grant world now that the consultants have hit the ground running. 

 

We are working with 12 different consultant groups who all are passionate about helping each business and organization be successful and thrive!


Approximately 90% of the 65 businesses and 17 organizations have had initial contact with their consultants and an initial meeting of some sort (mostly virtual) with their consultants. In these meetings, the consultants have learned more about the business or organization and asked a lot of tough questions to see where the business or organization stands, if anything has changed since the application process, and what they want to accomplish. It gives them the information needed to provide the best services possible within the grant guidelines and budget.


Some of the consultants have already set up on-site visits over the next couple of months and all are moving as quickly as possible to deliver their services. MMSC plans to also have a presence at as many of these on-site visits as possible to strengthen this partnership (business/organization – consultant – MMSC) and to continue to grow these relationships.


If you are one of the businesses or organizations who have not yet had initial contact with your consultant, don’t be concerned. You will hear something soon! Each of the consultants are working in their own unique way and on their specific timelines, but all are committed to this program!


If you have any questions or want to chat about this program and services, please reach out to Project Manager, Marla Mills. We can’t wait to see the impact of this program on Missouri’s downtowns and their businesses!!

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By now, I’m sure everyone has heard about the American Rescue Plan, one of the largest economic rescue plans in American history. It has a mix of initiatives to help economic recovery and to fight COVID-19's impact. The nearly $2 trillion plan is complex, and without guidance, it is hard to understand all of the uses and eligible activities for local communities or downtowns to utilize. Luckily, there have been several organizations following along for guidance from the federal government on the uses and application of the funds that will be disbursed to local municipalities, counties, and state governments.


“Municipalities and counties can use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) State and Local Funding to help Main Streets and business districts recover.” Main Street America has been following the U.S. Treasury Interim Final Report along with other entities to provide guidance for local Main Street programs.


There are three main areas for Main Street action related to the ARPA funds.


For Small Businesses: ARPA funds can be used to financially assist businesses that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. Small businesses and non-profits, through ARPA, are eligible for grants, loans, and services that include: prevention measures or mitigation, technical assistance, counseling, or other services to assist with business planning needs. More information can be found on pages 34-35 of the U.S. Treasury Interim Final Report document.

                 

      

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

For Main Street Programs: If your Main Street program is a non-profit, ARPA allows for its funds to directly invest in building capacity and provide support for downtown revitalization. Multiple surveys have shown that Main Street programs were instrumental in supporting the business community downtown during the pandemic.


Main Street programs became communication tools advising small businesses on ways to adjust their business model during lock-downs and then reopen safely. Main Street programs worked with cities on new zoning, relaxing existing zoning to support more outdoor seating, or to-go alcohol sales to remove barriers for struggling businesses. ARPA funding can be used to ensure proper funding for staffing the Main Street program and assist with direct funding as fundraising efforts have been affected by the pandemic.


For Business District Recovery: The U.S. Treasury identified business districts as an impacted industry, so State and local ARPA funds can be directed towards the needs of the entire downtown business district (page 36). See more details on how the district can qualify through lost revenue on pages 58-60 which it includes employment loss or business income lost. Other qualifying metrics include vacancy rates, rent per square foot, reduced sales tax, or foot traffic. Look at your district to determine what might best work. Estimates are that 30% of restaurants closed nationwide and that may be your indicator of impact in your district. Business district financial support may be used for district-wide marketing, placemaking, and streetscape improvements. Business district support should also consider investing in the future of the district through entrepreneur support, district recruitment planning, or specialized support for retailers or restauranteurs.


Main Street America stated that “most Main Street businesses (73%) were started by local entrepreneurs – not outside recruitment activities. To support business district recovery, municipalities should support entrepreneurial ecosystem building activities.”


If you need help with business recovery activities or support, Missouri Main Street Connection is equipped to help. Missouri Main Street offers several matching grants to provide services to your downtown revitalization efforts.

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AUTHOR
Ben White »

The Historic Preservation Committee of Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) is excited to offer "The Doctor Is In” service to Main Street communities from the MMSC Board of Directors and Advisory Board. This service serves as an initial consultation with a group of professionals about preservation-related questions, including: building material maintenance, funding, tax credits, façade renovation inquiries, and more. The committee will serve as the connector for the next steps with your project and put you in contact with professionals in the field that could be of additional assistance.

 

This service is available to all communities in good standing in the top three tiers: Accredited, Associate, and Affiliate. Community Empowerment Grant and St. Louis Main Streets communities/districts are also eligible as communities in the Affiliate Tier. To see if your community is represented on this list, click here.

 

To find and download the application for this service, click here. All applications are due to our Program Outreach Specialist, Ben White, before the end of the month. Ben will reach out for any additional information the committee may need to get a full scope of the applicant’s needs. The applicant will then be invited to a Zoom meeting to explain and discuss the problem with the "Doctors" at which time they will provide feedback. 


Lastly, Ben will provide any additional feedback and follow-up. The application is simple and serves as the initial communication with Ben. As such, you may be asked to provide more pictures and documentation, depending on what the "Doctors" need.


Please be sure to submit all requested supporting documents as outlined in the application form. 

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Missouri Main Street Connection recently introduced a new benefit for our network, the Grant Resource Directory. The directory provides subscribers with a summary of the currently available grant opportunities that can be utilized to support downtown revitalization work.


One of the questions we get asked the most is where to find funding for Main Street organizations. Grants are one of the many ways in which an organization can support its work. Unfortunately, the research process is often so time consuming that Main Street organizations are unable to dedicate that time on top of everything else they do for their district. In response to this, we wanted to create a resource for our network that would cut down on the research time by putting the available opportunities in one place. The directory is sent via email twice a month to ensure that we are able to alert subscribers to new grant opportunities as soon as they become available in order to give them enough time to put together an application.




The directory includes a short summary of each opportunity, a link to more information and the deadline. There is also a section of opportunities that are available on an ongoing basis. These opportunities are often overlooked or not prioritized because they do not have a looming deadline. The directory will continually share these opportunities as a reminder of what is always available.

To give other subscribers ideas for grants, the directory will also feature how grants have been successful for other communities. Subscribers can also submit projects they are in need of funding for, for us to keep in mind when we are researching grants for the directory.

The directory is not meant to take the place of an organization’s individual grant research, however, we hope that this makes it easier for our communities to utilize available grant funding for projects that benefit their historic districts and the work of Main Street in their communities.

To subscribe to the Grant Resource Directory, send your request to Katelyn at katelyn@momainstreet.org.


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Missouri Main Street Connection values the benefits of face-to-face educational training. Main Street conferences and workshops offer real and creative solutions to common community revitalization problems through educational sessions and mobile workshops. They provide the opportunity to network and exchange valuable ideas with colleagues experiencing similar success and challenges.

 

Hosting the 2018 Main Street Now Conference in Kansas City meant that ensuring the attendance by as many Missouri communities as possible was imperative. Knowing that some community programs have slim budgets, and not wanting anyone to miss the opportunity, we provided scholarships to those desiring to attend this national event. Our focus was primarily on awarding scholarships to first-time attendees and individuals from newer, younger downtown revitalization programs. Included here are some comments from recipients following their attendance at the 2018 Main Street Now Conference.


Photo courtesy of Slava Bowman Photography (c)2018.

 

A Wealth of Information

 


  As a retired teacher, I have attended my share of conferences. However, the scope, depth and professionalism of this conference blew me away. From the Monday Morning Kick-off Session, to every agonizing decision on which workshop to attend, there was a wealth of information, enthusiasm and expertise to guide and challenge me. – Dan Green, Kirksville, MO 
    The first general session...was absolutely wonderful. It made me think of our Main Street organization in a completely different way. – Liz Ogle, Grandview, MO
    There were vendors present who provided services relevant to my downtown and I appreciate the opportunity to meet with them. – Melissa Combs, Kennett, MO
    Attending the 2018 Main Street Now Conference was far more than any of us expected. After three days, meeting many new friends, hearing new ideas, building renewed energy, and developing real strategies for success, we all believe this conference was the jumpstart we needed. – Rusty Sullivan, Belton, MO

 


Highly Motivated Individuals



  I cannot express how fulfilling it was to be around like-minded professionals that do what they are passionate about every day. – Lauren Manning, St. Joseph, MO
    The experience of being surrounded with people driven, focused and with a passion for the revitalization of their community’s downtown was an energizing start to my new position as Executive Director. – Kristel Reiman, Warrensburg, MO

The camaraderie and networking that permeated the event was priceless. – Dana DeFoe, Odessa, MO

    Being around a group of highly motivated individuals, ready to do whatever it takes to improve their organization and community had me itching to get back home and start implementing that optimism. – Riley Price, Missouri Preservation

 

 

Incredibly Positive Experience



  Simply put: WOW! Without a doubt, the National Main Street Conference was one of the most empowering conferences I have ever attended. – Adam Morton, Knob Noster, MO 

 

Having the conference in Kansas City was an absolute joy, as Kansas City has quickly become one of my favorite places to visit. I believe [Missouri] Main Street Connection is one of the very best non-profits out there and is making useful strides on the front lines of revitalization efforts in small and mid-sized historic towns across the country. – Adam Flock, Moberly, MO

 

It was wonderful to see the impact a revitalized Main Street has on all aspects of life within a community. Thanks for reminding me why “this place matters.” – Kim Buckman, Moberly, MO

 

I was impressed by the size and sophistication of the conference, then amazed by the presenters. – Gaylene Green, Kirksville, MO

 

Overall it was an incredibly positive experience and I hope to repeat it in Seattle in 2019. – Isabelle Jones, Willow Springs, MO



 Photo courtesy of Slava Bowman Photography (c)2018.

 

As you can see, a live setting of classroom sessions, mobile workshops, and networking with fellow Main Streeters provides an invaluable experience for volunteers working to revitalize their community.

 

MMSC is grateful to the following scholarship sponsors. Due to their generosity, we were able to award scholarships for registration fees to 30 individuals to attend the 2018 Main Street Now Conference in Kansas City.

Ameren

Dalco Industries, Inc.

Karen Bode Baxter, Preservation Specialist

Kiku Obata and Company

Lisart Capital, LLC

Mangrove

R.G. Ross Construction Co., Inc.

STRATA Architecture + Preservation

Header photo courtesy of Slava Bowman Photography (c)2018.
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May is Preservation Month, the annual celebration of history, culture, and special places, designed to raise awareness about the power that historic preservation has to protect and enhance our historic communities. It’s the celebration of places that are meaningful to us. It is the telling of stories of the places we can’t live without.

 

In many Missouri communities, the old and new live side by side. Historic buildings not only give a community character but also emphasize sustainability. The preservation of unique neighborhoods containing historic landmarks ignites economic development and enriches communities. From first dates to family dinners and shopping trips to nights on the town, America’s thriving historic main streets are where we come together and share experiences that shape our lives and communities.1

WE’RE CELEBRATING MISSOURI’S TREASURES

 

In partnership with the Missouri State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), we are launching the #MoPlacesMatter campaign to raise awareness of Missouri’s historic treasures and their vital role in sustaining local communities. Over select dates in May, our Celebrate Preservation Month Road Show2 will visit four historic sites in Missouri dedicated to preserving our state’s historic resources and nine Missouri communities dedicated to preserving and revitalizing their historic districts to further enrich their communities and celebrate their heritage. Our campaign coincides with the #ThisPlaceMatters3 nationwide celebration observed by small towns and big cities with events ranging from architectural scavenger hunts and historic site tours to educational programs and heritage travel opportunities.

Southeast Missouri State University students learning how Historic Preservation and Main Street work together.  

 

Preservation Month is a great time to learn more about the activities going on around you in your community and state. The Celebrate Preservation Month Road Show is our project to engage the public in preserving historic places and increasing awareness of their role in sustaining local communities. Through the project, we hope to encourage Missouri citizens to learn more about the history surrounding them, discover new sites and communities, and understand the importance of preserving our history and historic places for generations to come. Think about the places in your community that mean the most to you. What are the “must see” or “must experience” places you take visitors from out of town? What places do you think about when you’re away from home and tell other people about your home town? How would your community change if these places were suddenly lost or modified beyond recognition?4

 

WE’RE HITTING THE ROAD TO VISIT THESE PLACES

 

The following communities and historic sites (selected by popular vote) are stops along the 2018 Celebrate Preservation Month Road Show. You can download the complete schedule here.

 

Cape Girardeau – Old Town Cape, Inc.

Chillicothe – Main Street Chillicothe

Excelsior Springs – Downtown Excelsior Springs Partnership

Independence – Harry S Truman National Historic Site

Jackson – Uptown Jackson Revitalization Organization

Jefferson City – Missouri Governor’s Mansion

Kansas City – Thomas Hart Benton Home & Studio State Historic Site

Lee’s Summit – Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, Inc.

Liberty – Historic Downtown Liberty, Inc.

Mansfield – Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home & Museum

Moberly – Main Street Moberly

Warrensburg – Warrensburg Main Street

Washington – Downtown Washington Inc.

Follow one of the official Celebrate Preservation Month Road Show cars to the places that matter to you! 

 

In addition to joining us on our Road Show, here are a few more things you can do to participate in Preservation Month5:

  • Read up on your community’s history.
  • Talk to preservationists and learn more about their ideas for your community.
  • Find out or review what properties or neighborhoods your community has listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Review the web pages of your local main street or downtown revitalization program, regional heritage area, and State Historic Preservation Organization (SHPO).
  • Take a tour of a rehabilitated building in your community such as a restored historic theater, historic courthouse or municipal building, or a historic school or commercial building converted to apartments or offices.
  • Take a walk around a nearby historic residential area or shop/dine in a historic commercial district.
  • Take a field trip to a nearby community with a strong historic preservation ethic or main street program.
  • Visit the Preservation Month web pages of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, National Park Service, and National Register of Historic Places.
  • Participate in other local Historic Preservation Month activities.

 

1Quote by Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

2This activity is partially funded by a grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, State Historic Preservation Office, and the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Grant awards do not imply an endorsement of contents by the grantor. Federal laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, age, handicap or ethnicity. For more information, write to the Office of Equal Opportunity, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington DC 20240.

3#ThisPlaceMatters is the annual campaign created by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

4, 5"Preservation Can Be Inspiring – This Month (and Every Month),” by Amy Faca, May 7, 2013.

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Everybody, have you heard? We’re gonna buy you a mockingbird!


No. No, we’re not. But…

 

We’re going to Kansas City. Kansas City, here we come!

 

We’re bringing a national event to the Heartland in March! Mark your calendars for March 26-28 to join us in Kansas City for the 2018 Main Street Now national conference for three exciting days of learning innovative solutions, exploring unique neighborhoods, and networking with peers.

 

Power & Light District, Kansas City. Credit: VisitKC

 

On the local (aka Missouri) home front, the Missouri Main Street committee for the national conference is working hard to plan an outstanding conference for downtown professionals in Missouri and nationwide. We expect upwards of 1500 individuals passionate about re-energizing local businesses, refurbishing historic buildings, and building vibrant, sustainable local economies.

 

The Elms Hotel & Spa, Excelsior Springs

 

Registration is open now and offers early bird registration rates through January 12, 2018. Don’t worry, registration will be open up to the event – but it’ll cost you more. Our advice – register early! The hotel block at the Marriott Kansas City Downtown (conference location) is also open. We advise you reserve that early, too!

 

Liberty, MO

 

Check out the mobile workshops we’re planning around downtown Kansas City and in some great Main Street communities in the area – Liberty, Excelsior Springs, Chillicothe (ahem, 2018 GAMSA semifinalist!), and Emporia, KS. Tickets for mobile workshops and special events are available now for purchase with registration.

 

Chillicothe, MO

 

Don’t forget about the big party – the Big Bash – thrown by Downtown Lee’s Summit (ahem, 2010 GAMSA winner!). Buy a ticket for the Big Bash and get a $25 gift card to spend on dinner, shopping, and lots of other great stuff!

A preliminary schedule of session topics is available. Detailed descriptions of sessions will be on the conference app soon.

 

 

Of course, an event this epic needs the help of volunteers. Opportunities are available before, during and after the conference including educational session monitors and mobile workshop assistants plus a variety of other positions. And volunteers who work at least 8 hours receive $160 off a full conference registration! See all available opportunities and sign up here. 


Well, we might take a plane, we might take a train
If we have to walk, we're going just the same...
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I am an avid gardener and love sticking my hands in the dirt.  Playing in the dirt allows me time to reflect and process work-related challenges and opportunities.  As I was planting some spring flowers recently, I was reflecting on the old saying about when to plant a tree.  The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago with the second-best time being today.  Of course, you benefit from a tree planted 20 years ago as the tree now offers shade, beauty and strength from years of growth.  If it is a fruit tree, you enjoy the fruit that it now produces as a mature tree.  If you didn’t plant that tree 20 years ago, then the next best time to plant a tree is today. 

The same goes for downtown revitalization – the best time to start a revitalization organization or project was 20 years ago with the next best time being today.  Had we begun our efforts in rehabilitating buildings, adding pocket parks, or creating that event over 20 years ago, we would now be enjoying the fruits of our labor.   I think many communities get into that mode of “it’s too late” to start or we should have done that a long time ago.  True.  But if you didn’t get started years ago, you can start today.  Make that call to garner support from property and business owners, contact Missouri Main Street for assistance, or begin that project that has been on the shelf for years.  It isn’t too late.  In fact, today is the second-best time to get started. 

 

Missouri Main Street offers several grants to assist you in your efforts in planting those seeds of downtown economic development in your community.  Contact Keith Winge, Community Development Coordinator at kwinge@momainstreet.org for more information.  

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