For Immediate Release: March 23, 2013
Richmond, VA – On Friday, March 22, Downtown Franklin Association representatives attended the Virginia Main Street Milestone Achievement Awards presented at Richmond’s historic Hippodrome Theater.
At the ceremony that focused on the results of Main Street efforts, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Jim Cheng spoke to the audience of more than 70 downtown revitalization volunteers and professionals about the visible results of their leadership. “Virginia main streets are thriving because of the collaboration between public and private sector, local and state governments and the citizens of each community getting involved to make their downtowns an attractive place to live, work and play,” said Cheng.
The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development Director Bill Shelton pointed to downtown progress through the numbers. “In the last five years, designated Main Street communities have sparked more than $252 million in private investment in their districts,” said Shelton. “As a result, last year, there was a net collective gain of 424 jobs across the 25 Main Street downtown districts.”
"Historic Main Street communities are much more than bricks and mortar. They serve as the heart and soul of our communities as they evoke the stories of our past while providing incomparable economic and cultural opportunities which sustain the quality of life for all citizens,” said Cate Magennis Wyatt, former Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade and the founder of The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership. "Our national surveys have found that 84 percent of potential visitors are, first and foremost, attracted to the region because of our quaint small towns. The work of the Virginia Main Street Program is critically important to creating jobs and attracting these visitors to the commonwealth."
Currently there are 25 designated Virginia Main Street communities: Abingdon, Altavista, Bedford, Berryville, Blackstone, Bristol, Culpeper, Farmville, Franklin, Harrisonburg, Hopewell, Luray, Lynchburg, Manassas, Marion, Martinsville, Orange, Radford, Rocky Mount, Saint Paul, South Boston, Staunton, Warrenton, Waynesboro and Winchester.
The Virginia Main Street program, managed by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, provides assistance and training to help communities increase the economic vitality of their downtown commercial districts. Virginia Main Street uses the National Main Street model to help communities revitalize their downtowns by focusing on their unique heritage and attributes. The program helps communities implement a comprehensive revitalization strategy that creates economic growth and pride in downtowns.
Attending the Richmond event on behalf of the Downtown Franklin Association were Dan Howe, Franklin Main Street Manager, and DFA board members Nancy Parrish, Anne Williams, Kathy Worrell and Tim Bradshaw.
For more information about the Virginia Main Street program, call (757) 562-6900 or visit www.dhcd.virginia.gov/MainStreet.