Readers of my blog know that I’m an unabashed patriot. I love my country, while I’m not always in love with my government, and this time of year my thoughts turn very close to home. Lately, many of us both professionally and personally are thinking, talking, worrying and dreaming (or bad-dreaming!) about the economy. The good news is there is some good news, at least at local levels.
Today’s entry is an article from the National Main Street Center at the National Trust for Historic Preservation on some trends:
By Linda S. Glisson | From Main Street News | June 22, 2011 |
Are entrepreneurs growing on Main Street? How is Main Street doing compared to big-box stores and strip malls? Do people want to live downtown?
Every year, the National Trust Main Street Center conducts a survey to discover the latest trends on Main Streets nationwide. This year, the picture, as shown by the responses of 500 local Main Street programs, is one of high energy in a slow economy, with lots of innovation, ranging from strategic uses of social media to cool “green” projects. Here are some of the major trends.
Strong business growth. Despite the cash crunch that is preventing small businesses from getting needed financing to expand, Main Street districts reported surprisingly strong growth in new businesses after a big drop last year. More than 5,000 businesses opened on the Main Streets of responding communities, nearly equaling the 10-year peak reached in 2006.
Competing with the strip. Half of all Main Street programs reported that the economic health of their commercial districts was on par with nearby communities. Even more impressive, however, is that 35 percent are doing better than surrounding commercial centers, and nearly 30 percent reported the closure of at least one big-box store in their area.
New entrepreneurs. Nearly 50 percent reported new entrepreneurs in their districts. From boomers to women to those under 30, Main Street is attracting new business owners, many from outside the community. In Woodville, Mississippi, the Main Street program’s track record in heritage tourism and preservation inspired a couple from New Orleans to buy a building on the courthouse square. As a tax credit project ¾ the Woodville Loft and Studios ¾ will soon bring 12 storefronts and condos to this small town. And in a great homecoming story, a 21-year old native of Sidney, Nebraska, came back after college with the dream of opening her own business. So Historic Downtown Sidney connected her with a retiring business owner, and helped with her first six months rent. This way, the Main Street program found a way to re-energize an old business, while creating a future for a new entrepreneur… one of its own. And in the northwest, Oregon City Main Street launched a video marketing and recruitment campaign for creative professionals who are interested in growing their business in a funky downtown setting. Their campaign kicked off last year and brought in eight new businesses in the first few months.
Living downtown. Housing on Main Street seems to be gaining steam as a niche for historic commercial districts. A recent National Association of Realtors Survey shows that 77% of homebuyers are seeking central locations with the type of pedestrian-friendly features found on Main Street. This year’s Trends Survey confirmed that demand for housing might be outstripping current developer interest. In Nacogdoches, Texas, for example, the Main Street manager gets constant inquiries from people looking for that downtown lifestyle. Only 8 housing units are currently under construction, but the manager says the downtown market could easily absorb 50 more this year.
“Hot Green.” Where are the hottest innovations right now? Where are young people focusing their attention? What types of organizations are gaining members? The answer: if it’s green, it’s growing! The sustainable communities movement is laying the foundation for a major shift in the way we use land and other resources and the way we plan cities. Sustainable innovations to watch out for include form-based codes, energy codes, and “location efficiency.” What’s that you say? A new study by EPA confirms what we in the preservation field have suspected all along: that where we construct our buildings has just as big an impact as how we construct, in terms of energy consumption. This new paradigm is called “location efficiency”, and is beginning to make the case for dense, walkable districts, such as Main Street. For the first time, guidelines and funding priorities may shift in favor of preservation and Main Streets, simply because of our “efficient” locations!
The bottom line for this year, Main Street is not only holding its own as the economy slowly recovers; it is moving ahead with great energy, optimism, and innovation.
Deadline approaching next Friday for the artist’s renderings for our new public art project!! Lots of info below:
PierArt: Fins & Feathers is a community awareness and fundraising event for the Main Street De Pere and the Katherine Harper Riverwalk & Nature Viewing Pier. The event will create recognition of the artists, sponsors and downtown De Pere with up to 28 walleye and pelican sculptures in around downtown De Pere, bringing attention to the river and the upcoming riverwalk and nature viewing pier project. These 3D animals will be in two different sizes: the larger animals are outdoor pieces and are approximately 4 ½ to 5 ½ feet tall, proportionally wide. The smaller are a table top piece and are approximately 2 to 3 feet tall, proportionally wide.
This is a great opportunity for our local and regional artists to be involved with a public art event . As a participating artist you will have the opportunity to showcase your work in the media and with thousands of people who will view your piece at its temporary “summer home” in downtown De Pere. You will be featured with a photo and bio in the catalog, be invited to all the project’s public events and featured online. In addition, depending upon the location of your piece, you may also have the opportunity to display additional pieces of your work inside a local business to bring increased awareness to your talent.
Artists will be paid a small stipend for materials, $125 for large animals, $75 for small animals. Costs incurred over this amount should be considered a donation to the Main Street De Pere program. Artists will have to transport pieces from the pick up location to their studio or home to complete the project and to the body shop by the specified date. Main Street will cover the costs of clear coating the pieces and transportation from the body shop to the location of exhibit.
Art pieces will be placed on display at outdoor locations for public viewing/interaction thoughout the summer. The artist’s name and title of the art piece, along with information about the program and sponsors will be displayed on each piece. Once the exhibit has run for the selected amount of time, the pieces will be auctioned off in a final event.
Please fill out linked application and send to PO BOX 5142 De Pere, WI 54115 by 1/15/2010. More then one design concept may be submitted.
Today is a bit of a mix! WordPress is being crabby and not letting me post links as links themselves, it will also be a bit longer than I prefer.
*hey! Yes, you in the peanut gallery. ssshhhhhh on the “yeah right” to me talking a lot*
The open positions:
Are you interested in being part of a growing, vibrant, exciting organization working in support of a city and community? Are you outgoing, committed and understand the connection between community and business? Do you have 20+ hours per week to trade for exceptional income and great fun?
The Chamber is recruiting for two roles:
- an experienced outside sales person! The DPACC is taking applications for an experienced sales person to join our Membership Development team. This full-commissioned position will serve to grow Chamber membership, present advertising & marketing opportunities to our members and expand the base of the organization through sponsorships and partnerships.
- an event eoordinator postion involving the planning and execution of a number of major events for the organization including recruiting & managing of volunteers/volunteer committees to assist with the planning & execution of the event, soliciting sponsors and donations, coordinating the marketing & public relations toward the success of the event. This base plus commission position requires a highly organized, personable and unflappable personality.
Send resumes to Cheryl Detrick at firstname.lastname@example.org
Next! Another of my favorite places goes smoke free!!
The Kress Inn, an Ascend Collection hotel, went 100 percent smoke free as of Nov. 1. The 46-room hotel made the move prior to the statewide smoking ban that is scheduled to take effect July of 2010.
“The majority of our guests have been requesting a smoke-free environment, and the only way to fully accommodate that request was to make our hotel 100 percent smoke-free,” said Pat Olejniczak, director of sales and hotel services.
“The final smoking ban law might allow hotels to have a certain percentage of smoking rooms, but regardless of that outcome, we wanted to be sensitive to the majority of our guests’ needs and provide an entirely smoke-free facility. So far the response from our guests has been overwhelming positive. Additionally, we will also have designated exterior smoking areas that can accommodate those guest who wish to smoke,” Olejniczak concluded.
The Kress Inn, an Ascend Collection hotel through Choice Hotels®, owned and operated by St. Norbert College, was built in 2001. For more information contact Olejniczak at email@example.com or 920-403-3968. You can also visit The Kress Inn web site at www.kressinn.com.
The 2008-09 Wisconsin Main Street annual report is now online(http://commerce.wi.gov/CD/docs/CD-bdd-WMSreport08-09.pdf)
A few interesting stats: for the period of 1988-2009 Return on Investment (ROI)
Estimated real estate taxes generated by building rehabilitations and new buildings $ 93,722,186
Estimated state sales taxes generated by new business $262,860,000
Estimated state income taxes generated by new job $122,737,306
Return for every state dollar invested through Wisconsin Main Street Program $ 46.33
Return for every local dollar invested through local Main Street organizations $ 12.50
Return for every state and local dollar combined invested through Main Street $ 9.84
Dollars invested locally in Community & Economic Development programs pay real dividends and the absolute epitome of “give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” When community organizations are seeking financial support in these strained times, remember – they do more than provide food or housing, they create JOBS so that individuals can provide their OWN food and housing!
Today we had a planning meeting for the 20th anniversary of Main Street De Pere!! (are you feeling old?)
were at breakfast this morning and Joe Schinkten, Phil Danen, Lisa Ortschied and Tom Walsh were invited but unable to join us. The names of old friends and those involved were flying fast and furious around the table along with the reminiscing and memories.
February 13th, 2010, is the date for the party – a Mardi Gras themed community ball, either black tie or costume to be held at the Swan Club. Think of it as a reunion for everyone who was and has been involved in the incredible success that has been enjoyed by downtown De Pere due to the hard work (and fun work!) put in by hundreds of people.
Put it on your calendar and reply to let us know you are out there. Who else do you know, do you remember from the last 20 years who should be invited to this celebration?? Let us know -we don’t want to miss anyone!