Main Street workshop set for Tuesday night
WORTHINGTON — The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, sponsored by the Minnesota National Trust for Historic Preservation, is hosting a Considering Main Street workshop from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at BenLee’s Café, 212 10th St.
The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota provides participating local Main Street programs with the training, tools, information and networking they need to begin and to be successful in their downtown revitalization efforts.
“This is an important and major first step for Worthington possibly making a commitment to the program and improving ‘Main Street’ in Worthington,” Minnesota Main Street Coordinator Emily Northby said.
Worthington Director of Community and Economic Development Brad Chapulis explained how the program would not only help downtown, but the whole community.
“Our downtown is our core and without that core we wouldn’t exist,” Chapulis said. “This will establish the mindset and the method for the community to try and strengthen and preserve downtown.”
The first Minnesota Main Street program was founded in 1981, and remained active for more than a decade. Although the state program was eventually defunded, many local Main Street programs had already been established and demand for Main Street services remained.
In 2007, several Minnesota communities rallied to once again form an official Main Street program. In 2010 the new statewide coordinating program, Minnesota Main Street, was born.
“I think this is a strong program, and they have been determined to rebuild ‘Main Street’ in Minnesota for decades,” Chapulis said.
The Main Street program uses a four-point approach to commercial district revitalization.
“We focus on design, which preserves local heritage and improves the physical environment of Main Street, economic restructuring, creating a healthy environment for business and developing economic growth, promotion — that is raising community awareness — and finally organization, to build a strong, local Main Street network and pool of resources,” Northby said.
In 2012, the Main Street program netted 21 new businesses and 77 additional full-time jobs. In those communities, the average population was 15,500. Faribault and Willmar are among the communities involved in the Main Street program.
“We really set up the application process to make sure communities are in it for the long haul, “Northby said. “Even if you have a great success, you still need to continue the work. Otherwise, you will just sink back in to where you once were.”
The workshop will consist of going through the benefits of the program, answering questions and making the public aware about what the program can ultimately do for the community.
“I think we can all work collectively and have a downtown and community that everyone envisions but is afraid to talk about,” Chapulis said.
The Main Street workshop is open to the public. For more information, visit www.mnpreservation.org.
Daily Globe Reporter
Erin Trester may be reached