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
Small business assistance and development
Volunteer recruitment and advocacy
Creating façade improvement programs
Building a stronger board
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.
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!