Update on Atchison Main Street
If for some reason you missed the news, Atchison received Kansas Main Street designation last Tuesday by Governor Kelly and Lt. Governor Toland in person at the Santa Fe Depot. The Chamber, in partnership with the City of Atchison, wrote the application during January and February, then made a formal presentation to the Department of Commerce which culminated with the announcement last week.
Kansas Main Street is part of a national organization, Main Street America (https://www.mainstreet.org/home). Main Street empowers communities to set their own destinies. While revitalization is challenging work, the Main Street program offers a road-map for locally-owned, locally-driven prosperity. Across the country, thousands of communities have used the Main Street Approach to transform their economies, leverage local leadership, and improve overall quality of life.
- The Main Street Approach is centered around Transformation Strategies. A Transformation Strategy articulates a focused, deliberate path to revitalizing or strengthening a downtown or commercial district’s economy.
- A program’s work on Transformation Strategies should be organized around the Four Points: Economic Vitality, Design, Promotion, and Organization.
- A revitalization program’s work – and its Transformation Strategies – need to be informed by a solid understanding of local and regional market data, and sustained and inclusive community engagement.
Transformation Strategies are implemented through comprehensive work in four broad areas, known as the Four Points.
ECONOMIC VITALITY focuses on capital, incentives, and other economic and financial tools to assist new and existing businesses, catalyze property development, and create a supportive environment for entrepreneurs and innovators that drive local economies.
DESIGN supports a community’s transformation by enhancing the physical and visual assets that set the commercial district apart.
PROMOTION positions the downtown or commercial district as the center of the community and hub of economic activity, while creating a positive image that showcases a community’s unique characteristics.
ORGANIZATION involves creating a strong foundation for a sustainable revitalization effort, including cultivating partnerships, community involvement, and resources for the district.
During the application process our Main Street boundaries were defined as the Missouri River to 10th Street and Main Street to Kansas Avenue. This is the area that will be impacted by the Atchison Main Street program.
The reality is that Atchison is already doing a great number of things that are reflected in the Main Street program. Being a formal part of Kansas Main Street will allow us to gain access to training, national conferences, state conferences, technical training, grant opportunities and most importantly access to other communities’ experiences and successes.
The Atchison Main Street effort will be housed within the Chamber with a separate and distinct board. We will be looking for volunteers for the board as well as the four committees that reflect the four points: Economic Vitality, Design, Promotion and Organization. If you’d like to volunteer please let us know and we’ll add your name to the mix.
We will be virtually attending a “new community training” put on by the national organization in the near future and also attending the Main Street National Conference virtually in mid-April. After those conferences we will be hosting several stakeholder meetings to share additional information we’ve gathered from those meetings and to gather input.
Thanks for all the kind words and congratulations and welcome to Atchison Main Street!