The Power of Main Street! Part 1

One of the best ways to learn about anything is by example.  In this 4-Part Series, we will give you examples of  four communities throughout Michigan who have been part of the Michigan Main Street program.  Our hope is that these examples will help to show you the ‘Power of Main Street’!

Niles Story:
Despite the grim news about the national economy, downtown Niles faired quite well in 2010. They took every opportunity to push the importance of supporting local businesses every chance they had, and it hit home. Nine new businesses opened, everything from a hydroponic growing center to a cutting-edge ultrasound photography studio. They even welcomed a women’s clothing shop on Main Street— the first in decades.

The economic restructuring committee realized the challenges of doing business today and developed an innovative program to offer financial support to district businesses, both old and new. The funds include both grant and loan opportunities to allow businesses to utilize it for a myriad of situations based on the number of years they have been in business and the number of new jobs created.

Bringing new people to town is always a challenge, but this past January, the promotions committee did just that with the 6th Annual Hunter Ice Festival. Temperatures were a bit balmier than the ice liked, but the warmer weather brought out the people—an estimated 15,000 visitors over the three-day festival.

Niles statistics are impressive. Since being selected into the Main Street program in 2004 they have:

  • 24,780 Volunteer Hours Recorded
  • 28 New Businesses Created
  • 19 Businesses Expanded
  • 135 Full Time Equivalent Jobs created
  • 47 Building Façade Improvements
  • $2,525,700 in Building Improvement Investment
  • $11,495,978 Total in Public and Private Investment in Downtown

*Resource: Michigan Main Street Center

The most important number of all is the Volunteer Hours.  Without the work of the dedicated volunteers in the Main Street program, the rest of these numbers would not be as impressive.

Check out Master Level Niles’ new website just launched this week, courtesy of a Michigan Main Street pilot branding services;

Our group wants to work to improve Downtown Saline. We want to see our Downtown streets as exciting, diverse, and just plain fun as we can all imagine them!

What do You want for our Downtown?


About Route '12 to Main Street

Route '12 to Main Street is sponsored by the Saline Historic Downtown Alliance (SHDA), a new non-profit entity focused on the revitalization of Downtown Saline for the benefit of the entire community. SHDA, with the support of the City of Saline and the EDC, is applying to become a Main Street community through the Michigan Main Street Center. It is a competitive process and over the next seven months, volunteers are working hard to prepare for the application process by educating the community, recruiting volunteers and gaining support. Benefits to become a 'Selected' Main Street community through the Michigan Main Street Center program are 5 years of technical training, design services, and increased public awareness for our community. Benefits of having a comprehensive Downtown revitalization strategy are even more, and we will be talking about these advantages in upcoming blogs.

Posted on September 29, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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