Main St. program gets national accreditation

Lazaro Aleman
ECB Publishing, Inc.

The Monticello Main Street Program (MMS) continues racking up validations. The latest was its designation as a National Main Street Program, given in recognition of the local program’s achievement of the revitalization performance standards set by the National Main Street Center, itself a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Each year, according to MMS Executive Director Anne Holt, the National Main Street Center and its partners release a list of accredited Main Street programs across the country. The accreditations essentially recognize those communities that show “exemplary commitment to historic preservation and community revitalization through the Main Street Four Point Approach.”   “We congratulate this year’s nationally accredited Main Street programs for their outstanding accomplishment in meeting the National Main Street Center’s 10 Standards of Performance,” Patrice Frey, president & CEO of the National Main Street Center, is quoted saying. She noted that in consequence of the national organization celebrating its 35th anniversary, it was important also to recognize the achievements of the local programs, some of which had been around since the start.  “These local programs work hard every day to make their communities great places to work, live, play and visit while still preserving their historic character,” Frey said.   The local organizations’ performances are evaluated annually by the Florida Main Street Program, which works in partnership with the National Main Street Center to identify those that meet the 10 performance standards. The 10 performance standards are:

* Program has a broad-based community support for the commercial district revitalization process, with strong support from both the public and private sectors.

* Program has developed vision and mission statements relevant to community conditions and to the local Main Street program’s organizational stage.

* Program has a comprehensive Main Street work plan.

* Program possesses an historic preservation ethic.

* Program has an active board of directors and committees.

* Program has an adequate operating budget.

* Program has a paid professional program manager.

* Program conducts a program of ongoing training for staff and volunteers.

* Program reports key statistics.

* Program is a current member of the National Trust Main Street Network.

“ These standards set the benchmarks for measuring an individual Main Street program’s application of the Main Street Four Point Approach to commercial district revitalization,” the national organization website states. “Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, securing an operating budget, tracking programmatic progress and actively preserving historic buildings.”   Holt encourages anyone who is interested in promoting the economic development of Monticello and Jefferson County and preserving the community’s history, culture, buildings and pristine ecology to visit www.mainstreetmonticellofl.org. “Become a member now,” Holt says. “Every membership and every voice will strengthen and support Main Street’s work and help Monticello and Jefferson County thrive.”   The National Trust for Historic Preservation established the National Main Street Center in 1980 to help communities of all sizes revitalize their older and historic commercial districts. The organization claims that working with more than 2,000 downtowns and urban neighborhoods over the last 35 years, it has leveraged more than $61.7 billion in new public and private investment.  The organization further maintains that participating communities “have created 528,557 net new jobs and 120,510 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 251,838 buildings, leveraging an average of $26.52 in new investment for every dollar spent on their Main Street district revitalization efforts.”