Main Street Gettysburg (MSG) is one of 828 accredited Main Street Programs nationally. The National Main Street Center is a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. MSG is proud to have a strong 34-year relationship with the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Too often we all focus on current situations in our own home, business or town and forget to assess our longer-term goals and accomplishments. Main Street revitalization programs are multi-year programs that require multiple organizations and entities to collaborate. A difficult task that can yield much success.
A recent Main Street America publication, “State of Main,” states that “The national network of over 1,000 Main Street America programs reached a ten-year high for community reinvestment. In 2016, these communities reinvested $4.65 billion from public and private sources, created 5,616 new businesses, and rehabilitated 8,042 buildings.” There were 27,462 new jobs filled and 8,042 building rehabilitations completed. These statistics illustrate how Main Street programs improve the economy and leverage funding to improve the quality of life in small towns. MSG has contributed to this success.
Both the local and national MSG organizations have evolved over the years, but the MS model of the program has not waivered. Economic vitality, design, organization, marketing and safe clean and green, make up this model. MSG has consistently used this framework to achieve revitalization projects such as Steinwehr, Baltimore Street, and the creation of the Ten-Year Economic Development Plan.
In the MSA article “Leading Main Street,” the writer Norma Ramirez de Miess, highlights the most important leadership characteristics necessary for successful revitalization programs. These characteristics include leaders who: value people, build capacity, lead through strategy, stand on solid ground, and never stop learning. At MSG, the Board exemplifies these characteristics, along with the staff and volunteers. They are baked into the organization’s culture with documented values that include; serve the community, partner and collaborate, provide leadership, facilitate, responsible fiscal coordination, flexibility and professionalism.
With only two staff, MSG “builds capacity” and takes pride by including as many people, businesses, stakeholders and peer organizations as possible in revitalization projects. This team approach honors the talents and skills offered by all involved. More than 80 community representatives were involved in the Baltimore Street project to date, and this number continues to expand daily.
“Leading through strategy” is an important distinction about the work that MSG achieves. The revitalization projects in the ten-year Economic Development plan, require vision and direction. It takes engaging visionary leaders to achieve projects such as Steinwehr Avenue, a $7.5 million multi-year investment in our community. The entire community benefits long term from this type of project.
The 4th characteristic is “Stand on solid ground.” MS leaders have an important role to seek a consensus and common vision for the future of the community and then the commitment to “stand on solid ground” as they advocate for this vision. This occurs locally as MSG Board members and community representatives give passionate presentations at many community meetings such as Borough Council meetings.
The final characteristic is “never stop learning.” Change is our constant in today’s technical world and what might have failed in the past may just work today. Who would have thought the Baltimore Street community would want parking kiosks on their street ten years ago?