City May Apply for Downtown Revitalization Grant

October 6, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Mayor and Aldermen want more information before deciding on whether or not to apply for a downtown revitalization grant.

Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber announced last week in a press release that applications are now being accepted for Tennessee Downtowns, a competitive community improvement program for cities and counties seeking to revitalize traditional commercial districts. The program is open to communities with downtown commercial districts established at least 50 years ago and whose citizens are ready to organize efforts for downtown revitalization based on the successful program "Main Street Four-Point Approach to Downtown Revitalization." Applications are available online at www.tennesseemainstreet.org and must be completed by Monday, Nov. 8.

"Having a thriving downtown benefits and promotes economic development efforts for a community and lays the groundwork for a growing local economy," said ECD Commissioner Matt Kisber. "The Tennessee Downtowns program is the first step toward reviving a community's central business district in a comprehensive, sustainable way."

Mayor Taft Hendrixson said Monday night during the city council meeting that he would contact the state to learn more about the program. "We'll call and see what the grant match is, if any. I think we have $10,000 in our budget for that project (downtown beautification) but we'll find out what the match is and what's available and what it can be used for."

Alderman Steve White then made a motion that the city "check into it and then move forward it, but first come back with the numbers for final approval."

The aldermen approved White's motion.

Tennessee Downtowns is a tiered program affiliated with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development's Tennessee Main Street Program. Communities selected to participate in Tennessee Downtowns will form a volunteer committee of local citizens who will participate in a multi-month training curriculum supported by the National Main Street Center. The curriculum is designed to teach citizens about comprehensive, sustainable downtown revitalization and historic preservation. The training includes attendance at a two-day downtown revitalization workshop and a grant to complete individualized downtown development projects.

Communities participating in the Tennessee Downtowns program may wish to continue a self-initiated downtown revitalization effort at the end of the program or apply for certification in the Tennessee Main Street Program through the competitive application process. Successful completion of the Tennessee Downtowns program does not automatically result in qualification for the Main Street program.

Main Street revitalization is a comprehensive, incremental, self-help economic strategy that also focuses on developing public-private partnerships to enhance community livability and job creation, while maintaining the historic character of the district. For information about the Main Street Program and the Main Street Four Point Approach, visit http://www.preservationnation.org/main-street/about-main-street/.

Tennessee's Main Street program provides communities with technical assistance and guidance in developing long-term strategies that promote economic growth and development. The program provides information and assistance in forging public networking and training opportunities for downtown commercial districts.

For more information about Tennessee Downtowns, visit www.tennesseemainstreet.org.

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