The ‘Parade of Partnerships’ – A Community Comes Together….
One of the greatest benefits of ‘Main Street’ is how it can bring people together for a common purpose… to build a better community. This was never more evident than it was at last week’s presentation to the Michigan Main Street Advisory Committee in Lansing. It was the final step in an almost 2-year journey to become a Select Level Michigan Main Street program.
In order to tell our story, fourteen volunteers brainstormed the night of our site visit on January 17th, and decided to show the Advisory Committee our community through partnerships that are possible if a Main Street program was in place. Our theme, “Parade of Partnerships”, came from ideas stemming from the great people and organizations in our community, and our love for our hometown parade!
Sticking with the ‘Route ’12 to Main Street’ theme, we decided on identifying 12 groups representative of our community that would help to tell our story. Each group was tasked with creating a ‘float’ utilizing some type of ‘vehicle’ like a wagon, and creating a puzzle piece that would also represent their group. They were asked to develop a 90 second speech to talk about their role in the community and how they believe Main Street could partner with their ‘group’ to benefit our community. Laurie Dawson created a large 7′ wide puzzle board that the puzzle pieces would be placed on after each group finished with their ‘speech’. As each group finished their presentation their puzzle piece would be added to the puzzle board. When all of the groups finished presenting, there would still be a very important ‘piece’ missing right in the center of the puzzle. The final piece would be passed through the crowd of volunteers and placed in the center of the puzzle to complete the puzzle. That piece was a picture of our Downtown with the Michigan Main Street logo. It represented our need for a full-time Downtown Revitalization organization utilizing the tools provided by the Michigan Main Street Center.
Over 62 members of our community, floats in tow and puzzle pieces ready, made the trip ! It was an amazing site to see !! Their ‘float’, puzzle piece and speeches were creative, interesting and full of pride for the role they play in our community. No matter what happens, it was a very memorable day for all of us and we each learned a little more about our community, our people, and the spirit of Main Street!
We will be informed of the committee’s decision by February 20th. If our community is selected into the Michigan Main Street program, Governor Snyder will make the announcement next week. Keep your fingers crossed!