The heart and soul of every community is its people, and its downtown.
The health of a community can instantly be portrayed by the vitality of its downtown. It is the litmus test for all your economic development efforts – both tourism and non-tourism. Downtown provides that all-important first impression of the community that answers the questions: “Is this a place I’d want to live? A place my employees would want to live? A place I’d want to hang out? Show off to friends and relatives?” If you want people to visit your community, to open or relocate a business there, or move to your town, downtown needs to be a place where they’d enjoy spending time.
What is Main Street Kearney?
The Main Street Kearney program was established in 2010 by the Downtown Improvement Board, as a separate 501(c)(3) non-profit organization operating under the Kearney Area Community Foundation. We have been charged by the DIB with a number of responsibilities formerly carried out by the DIB and City of Kearney staff. The purpose of the Main Street program is to encourage economic revitalization through historic preservation. We are affiliated with the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Center through Heritage Nebraska’s Main Street program.
What Does Main Street Kearney Do?
Main Street Kearney functions through four committees. The Organization Committee is responsible for fundraising, the management of volunteers, and communications. The Organization Committee has created a membership brochure, hosted the first annual downtown business reception/membership drive in February 2011 at MONA. The first annual 10K road race during the 2011 July Cruise Nite weekend was the first fundraising event.
The Promotions Committee works on image development, special events and retail promotion to encourage shopping in the district. The Promotion Committee hosts seven events including: Trick or Treat on the Bricks; Christmas Open House; Bricks Black Friday; Christmas Walk; and Sidewalk Sales, and Destination Downtown. Two new downtown events have been created by the committee: the youth Lemonade Stand project and our Harvest Festival. The committee has also developed a quarterly advertising brochure for downtown businesses for distribution downtown, and through MONA and the Visitors Bureau.
The Design Committee targets concerns of infrastructure and the physical preservation and restoration of the Main Street district. The Design Committee reviewed applications for the 2011 façade grant applications, serving as an advisor and liaison to the property owners and Downtown Improvement Board for that round of grant funding. The Historic Building Design Guidelines for the façade grant program have been completed and a project timeline has been established. These are now available for working with prospective businesses and property owners for the 2012 round of façade grant awards.
The Economic Restructuring Committee is responsible to redefine the district’s identity and develop strategies to nurture new businesses and services that will produce that climate. This committee has begun an inventory of available real estate in the downtown area, businesses looking for a location and will be working to match these for the strongest mix for a vital downtown Kearney. This committee is involved with the Downtown Revitalization Study. The total program is intended to make downtown Kearney an area of vibrant shopping, dining, economic activity, entertainment, and living.
What Can You Do?
You are invited to join Main Street Kearney in our efforts to maintain and strengthen the vitality of downtown Kearney. Through long range planning and an active membership, Main Street Kearney can help the Downtown Kearney District move toward its goals for the future. Numbers do count when we seek support for the downtown’s revitalization. We want city officials, legislators, media and public and private agencies to know the number of people who back our efforts.
Anyone who cares how Main Street Kearney looks, feels and functions is welcome to join the effort. Please consider coming alongside the efforts of Main Street Kearney as we work toward our goals of economic revitalization through historic preservation and a strong and vibrant downtown business district.
We encourage you to be a part of the future of downtown Kearney. Main Street Kearney is an independent non-profit organization, and needs your support to help downtown Kearney reach its full potential.