Wednesday, March 28, 2012

2012 Destination Downtown Conference Education Session Proposals Due April 6
Rogers, Arkansas, Arkansas's first Great American Main Street Award Winning Community, will host the 2012 Destination Downtown conference, September 17-19, 2012. We welcome proposals that explore successful strategies in applying the Main Street Four-Point Approach™. The primary reason people attend the conference is for its strong educational component and we look for beginner to advanced proposals to meet each learning level.

This regional, tri-state conference, sponsored by Main Street Arkansas and co-sponsored by the Mississippi Main Street Association and the Louisiana Main Street program, attracts over 200 professionals in preservation-based, commercial district revitalization, including new and experienced downtown and neighborhood Main Street directors, board members, architects, planners, economic development professionals, public officials, volunteers, and consultants. Attendees hail from communities of all sizes, from small rural towns to urban neighborhoods in large cities.

We are seeking presentations on general commercial district revitalization topics including, but not limited to:

Sustaining a viable organization
Clean and safe issues
Retail support
Small business assistance and development
Volunteer recruitment and advocacy
Farmers Markets
Creating fa├žade improvement programs
Building a stronger board
Leadership development
Developing design guidelines
Social networking on the web
Using new technologies to manage your program
Click here for a copy of the full proposal.

ORGANIZATION: Eureka Springs Downtown Network/Eureka Springs, Arkansas Neighborhood Arts District
ByRebecca Chan From Main Street Story of the Week
March 21, 2012
Organization in the Main Street Four-Point Approach is about building partnerships and establishing consensus among various groups and stakeholders in a Main Street community. As one of the most well-known arts communities in Arkansas, but a relatively new Main Street community (designated in 2007), the Eureka Springs Downtown Network has managed to use its organizational prowess to get long-time resident artists and the Eureka Springs community as a whole to work toward the common goal of building a vibrant neighborhood business district.
Eureka Springs has had a flourishing artist community since the 1950s; today it features more than 20 galleries, theaters, the Eureka Springs School of Art, and other venues that complement businesses in the downtown commercial district. In this town, artists are business people, homeowners, and valuable community members.

The key to introducing Main Street and organizing the Eureka Springs community has actually been to adopt a relatively hands-off approach. According to Jacqueline Wolven, executive director of the Eureka Springs Downtown Network, the key to consensus building has been to position Main Street as a community resource that offers technical help and supplemental promotion to local artists. "What I have found is most successful is when I offer my support, either technical or marketing," says Wolven, "and if they don't take me up on it, that's okay. But I don't push myself- I'm there as a resource."

This approach has helped garner support from within the artist community as well as the larger Eureka Springs Main Street network. "We are an arts district, but we don't take advantage of our artists. We respect that they are working individuals," says Wolven. "We see artists as serious business people. And I think that helps them too, because it encourages them to see themselves as important to the town."

To read the full article, click here.

Quick Tips in the Four Points
ByRich Williams, Director New Mexico Main Street
March 14, 2012

It's just the American way to focus on expanding markets and sales. But, our small businesses should remember that reducing costs can be just as effective in increasing profits. A key cost area is energy and fortunately, effective cost reducing techniques have arrived on Main Street! Main Street Iowa / Iowa Economic Development Authority has developed training materials and videos, available at Publications from its Local Energy Leadership Series include Energy Efficiency Basics, Utility Incentives and Services, Energy Audits and Assessment Tools, Grants, Loans and Tax Incentives, Energy Solutions for Food Businesses, and Renewable Energy for Historic Commercial Buildings.

Give your volunteers a boost at tax time! Did you know that volunteers who serve a 501c3 charitable organization, including MainStreet organizations, can deduct 14 cents per mile driven in 2011 in service of the nonprofit? Consider sending a postcard or email to your volunteers to remind or inform them of this benefit. Fourteen cents may not sound like much, but if your volunteers do a lot of driving for MainStreet - including attending trainings - it can add up. The deduction is applicable only for those who itemize on their tax returns. For details, contact your tax professional, or see the IRS announcement at
Does your MainStreet district still have signs from businesses that have closed years ago? Do you have signs that dominate buildings and negatively impact the appearance of your district? It may be time to adopt signage guidelines. Signage guidelines can be enforceable or merely suggested. Sometimes appropriate guidance is all it takes to positively impact a downtown's appearance. Good signs - and their placement - should promote downtown businesses while also complementing your downtown's character. This will draw in more customers and also increase the amount of time patrons spend within your districts.

Are you capitalizing on your historic assets? Brochures, signage and advertisements about your unique historic buildings and sites are great ways to promote the downtown district. You can create a historic walking tour and offer the information in a brochure, signage on the historic assets and even online. QR codes are a growing trend and are placed on signage that can be scanned and refer people to information on your website. Explore the possibilities and share your assets!

To schedule training for your Main Street or Arkansas Downtown Network (ADN) organization, feel free to contact MainStreet Arkansas Staff!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Main Street Arkansas Update - March 26, 2012

Main Street Arkansas Calendar – March 26 - 30, 2012


MONDAY Susan – Helena, Blytheville

TUESDAY Cary – speaking at Mid-South Basic Economic Development, UALR; Susan – Blytheville (merchant visits)


THURSDAY Susan – Batesville, Searcy (merchant visits); Cary – National Main Streets Conference; Sam – out

FRIDAY Cary – National Main Streets Conference



El Dorado Hosts Business Competition

El Dorado Enters Its 2nd Act

PB Hosts Downtown Network Training

Downtown Rogers Restaurant Week April 1-7

Better Zoning Through Breaking Old Codes

12 Reasons to Visit the US - #12 Main Streets

Grant Opportunity

PR Opportunity

Gone in 60 Seconds in El Dorado

El Dorado Enters Its Second Act

Pine Bluff Hosts Downtown Network Training

Downtown Rogers Restaurant Week April 1-7

The first-ever Downtown Rogers Restaurant Week will be a seven-day celebration of the historic district’s finest food and drink from April 1-7, 2012. We have thirteen restaurants signed up. Go to the page on the Main Street web site to see the participating restaurants & sponsors - use this short link to view the page: A scan code has been created so people can check out the restaurants with their phone. We can use more restaurants to join the fun, so please encourage them to participate. We will be sending more emails and social media messages in the next 2 weeks.

Better Zoning Through Breaking Old Codes

12 Reasons to Visit the US - #12 Main Street

Capacity Building Grants to Accelerate Community and Economic Development in Rural Areas
Department of Agriculture
The Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge provides support for the provision of technical assistance to develop rural communities’ capacity and ability to undertake projects related to housing, community facilities, or economic and community development. Activities eligible for support include the following: providing resources for professional services (e.g. architectural, engineering, or legal); purchase of office equipment and software directly related to technical assistance; providing training and resource material on developing strategic plans, board operations, management, financial systems, and information technology; and hiring of staff to implement technical assistance related to housing, community facilities, or community and economic development. The application deadline is May 9, 2012

Festival & Event Producers –

Since 1985, the Southeast Tourism Society has published the Top 20 Events publication. Through a nomination process, the society chooses the Top 20 events going on in the Southeast for each month of the year, and publishes this list of winners quarterly. This publication is sent to over 300 newspapers, magazines, radio stations, TV stations, and others, as well as 125 AAA publications. The combined circulation runs into the millions. Current Top 20 Events are listed online.

Festivals and events in Arkansas may be submitted for the Top 20 Events publication, if they meet the following requirements set forth by the Southeast Tourism Society:

  • 1,000 in attendance
  • 3rd year in existence
  • Payment of $20 nomination fee per event

Top 20 Events strongly encourages you to strengthen your nomination by providing supporting material such as:

  • Photos
  • Posters
  • Brochures
  • Press Releases
  • News Clippings
  • Volunteer Programs

Monday, March 19, 2012

Main Street Arkansas Update - March 19, 2012

Main Street Arkansas Calendar – March 19 - 23, 2012


MONDAY Mark – South Main

TUESDAY all staff - Downtown Network Training – Pine Bluff

WEDNESDAY Mark & Susan – Rogers

THURSDAY Mark & Susan – Rogers; Cary & Sam – Federal Reserve workshop in LR

FRIDAY Mark – off



Show NPR the Heart of Your City

3 Grant Opportunities

Show NPR the Heart of Your City

DRA Rural Jobs Accelerator Grant Opportunity

The objectives of the Rural Jobs Accelerator are to:

1. Accelerate rural distressed communities’ ability to create jobs and strengthen their regional economies

2. Help rural communities identify local assets, and connect to regional opportunities and self-identified clusters that demonstrate high-growth potential

Funds for Programs in Bank Communities
Bank of America Charitable Foundation: Local Grants
The Bank of America Charitable Foundation supports nonprofit organizations that address pressing social, economic, and cultural needs in the communities the bank serves throughout the United States. While the priorities of specific company communities drive how funding is used, Local Grants typically fall into the following four generic categories: Community Development/Neighborhood Preservation, Education and Youth Development, Health and Human Services, and Arts and Culture. Requests may be submitted throughout the year. Visit the bank’s website to access the online application information.

Land Acquisition Funds to Establish Community Forests
Forest Service
The Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program provides support to establish community forests that provide continuing and accessible community benefits, including recreational and economic opportunities, habitat protection, stewardship demonstration sites, environmental education, improved forest health, water supply and watershed conservation, and climate change mitigation. Proposed community forests must be accessible to the public and involve the community in the establishment process, including the development of the community forest plan and decisions regarding long-term management needs. The application deadline is May 15, 2012.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Main Street Arkansas Update - March 5, 2012

Main Street Arkansas Calendar – March 5 – 9, 2012
MONDAY Cary – Governor’s Conference on Tourism
TUESDAY Cary – Governor’s Conference on Tourism
WEDNESDAY Nancy – SoMa (merchant visit)
THURSDAY Susan & Mark – Ozark (merchant visits)
FRIDAY Cary – West Memphis (strategic planning session); Susan – Searcy (merchant visits)

Longtime Downtown Siloam Champion Profiled
A Tasty Revitalization Option
$60 in New Markets in AR
4 Grant Opportunities
New Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance
Business USA
Grant Opportunity

Longtime Main Street Siloam Springs Champion Profiled:

A Tasty Revitalization Option

$60 Million in New Markets Tax Credits Awarded to AR Group

Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant ProgramThe U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is making $110 million available for its Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant Program in 2012. Choice Neighborhoods Grants help to transform neighborhoods by revitalizing severely distressed public and/or assisted housing and linking housing improvements with appropriate services, schools, public assets, transportation, and access to jobs. HUD plans to award 4-5 grants with a $30 million maximum award.The deadline for applications is April 10, 2012.

Grants Promote Education, Health, and Community ProgramsRGK Foundation The RGK Foundation endeavors to be a catalyst for progressive change in humanitarian concerns by providing support to nonprofit organizations throughout the United States. The Foundation’s grantmaking focus is on innovative programs in the following three categories: The Education category priorities include programs that focus on K-12 education (particularly mathematics, science, and reading); teacher development; literacy; and higher education. In the category of Medicine/Health, the Foundation's interests include programs that promote the health and well-being of children and programs that increase access to health services. The Community category targets a broad range of human services, community improvement, abuse prevention, and youth development programs. Interested applicants may submit an online letter of inquiry via the Foundation’s website throughout the year; invited proposals are reviewed quarterly. Visit the Foundation’s website for details on the grant categories and the application process.

Innovative Solutions to Social Challenges in Local Communities Funded Corporation for National and Community ServiceThe Social Innovation Fund provides support to existing grantmaking institutions to direct resources to promising community-based nonprofit organizations to validate and grow outcomes-focused approaches to challenges facing local communities in the following priority issue areas: Youth Development – preparing America’s youth for success in school, active citizenship, productive work, and healthy and safe lives; Economic Opportunity – increasing economic opportunities for economically disadvantaged individuals; and Healthy Futures – promoting healthy lifestyles and reducing the risk factors that can lead to illness. The application deadline is March 27, 2012.

Grant Opportunity
The TK Foundation Fund, a donor-advised fund of the Orange County Community Foundation, envisions a world where all youth have access to opportunities that lead to employment that allows them freedom, equity, security and human dignity. The TK Foundation Fund is interested in supporting youth development programs that are meeting the needs of motivated disadvantaged youth ages 15-21 through innovative and effective programs that help prepare the program’s young beneficiaries for employment and careers that will allow them to become self-sufficient in adulthood.

Grant requests may range from $50,000 to $500,000. Multiyear grant requests that fall within a grant period of up to three years will be considered.

Please note that this program is seeking proposals for programs throughout the U.S.

New Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance Program Contact
Would you please spread the word within your network about the Rivers, Trails and on Conservation Assistance program? I am going to start working with communities throughout the state as they work to develop trails (both land and water) and greenways.I'd like to visit with communities that want to develop trails in and around their towns and hope that with your statewide connections, you may be able to get the word out. If any of your contacts would like to go to the RTCA website AndersonNational Park Service - Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance601 Riverfront Dr.Omaha, NE 68102402-661-1542

Business USA
Recently President Obama announced the launch of BusinessUSA, a virtual one-stop-shop that makes it easier for America's businesses to access the services and information they need to help them grow, hire, and export.Get help starting, growing, and financing a business, or learn more about expanding your market and becoming more globally competitive through exporting.

Call for Applicants: Heartwood Mini-Grants Spring 2012Application Deadline: April 1stMini-Grant Recipients Announced: May 1stAward range: Up to $1,000 per projectAbout Heartwood Mini-Grant Program: The purpose of the mini-grant program is to provide funding for activists who need it. The Mini-Grant program seeks to provide funding for creative efforts and ideas fomented by Heartwood members and member-groups. Efforts and ideas could range from Heartwood's roots as a forest protection organization to current efforts to stop mountain-top removal and biomass projects to sustainable living projects to new ideas we have not considered at this time. Ideas and efforts that are quantifiable (e.g. actions taken, phone calls made, letters written and sent, websites on-line, films made, meetings held) and work to sustain and expand environmental activists in the Heartwood region will be considered.Grant Guidelines: Grants will be awarded to selected projects that aim to do one or all of the following:• Educate the Heartwood Region about an environmental threat or opportunity.• Take action within the Heartwood Region to protect, restore, and/or create environmental integrity.Issues may include, but are not limited to:• Sustainable communities (this is a broad topic from food issues to air to water to infinity and beyond)• Forest protection (this could be on-the-ground work in the forest, building a campaign, mapping, etc)• Energy consumption (such as it pertains to healthy forests and communities, such as biomass incineration, mountain top removal coal mining, and natural gas hydrofracking)All projects should contain one or all of the following elements:• Public outreach• Education• Organizing• MediaHow to ApplyEmail the completed application below to by April 1st, 2012. You will receive an email confirming your application and will be notified of the award by May 1st. Please do not hesitate to contact if you have questions or would like feedback on your proposal.Project ReviewUpon completion of your project, you will be required to complete a brief project report. The Report will include copies of any multimedia, photographs, video, web links, examples of news coverage, etc. Recipients of the Mini-Grants will also agree to allow Heartwood use of the materials for its own advocacy and educational purposes. A report form will be provided with instructions.Heartwood Mini-Grant Application FormNOTE: Please answer the following questions on a separate document.1. Name of organization:2. Title of project:3. Amount requested:4. Complete contact information for organization:5. Who is the primary contact for this project? Please include complete contact information:6. If an organization, is this an incorporated 501(c)3?7. What is the annual budget of your organization?8. Names of other groups involved in this project, if any:9. Project Description (no more than 4 sentences):10. Goal(s) of project: For example, "Mail 3,000 letters to Congressman X about MTR".11. What is your plan to achieve this goal? Include your strategy, activities, and message.12. What is the time line for this project? Include a weekly time line with specific action items by each week, if appropriate.EXAMPLE:JUNEWeek 1
- Planning Meeting
Week 2
- Print flyers
- Start radio and newspaper ads
Week 3
- Have concert
- Clean up concert site
Week 4
- Follow up
13. What are your benchmarks for measuring success?EXAMPLE
- Recruited 5 new volunteer organizers
- Placed 20 free radio spots
- Placed announcement and coverage in 3 local newspapers
- Turned out 2000 people at concert
- Created new short film on the Indiana bat, its habitat and threats to be distributed to schools
14. How would this project benefit the Heartwood Region? (The Heartwood Region includes--but is not necessarily limited to--the Central Hardwoods and Appalachian Region, including Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Michigan, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina.)15. Briefly explain how your project achieves the following: Educates the public; Educates decision makers; Creates a tool or opportunities for other activists in the region.16. What is the total budget for the project? What are the other funding sources?17. Please provide the budget breakdown for the project.EXAMPLEBudget for Materials
- Layout/Design
- Printing
- Postage
Budget for Staff TimeBudget for Public OutreachEvent Costs
- Postcard Production and Mailing
- Printing
- Mailing Service
- Postage
* Heartwood "core states" include Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, and Missouri. Over time, Heartwood has branched out to serve areas of need throughout an 18-state region, with emphasis on Michigan, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, West Virginia, Virginia, and Tennessee