Scottville Main Street gets a new boost

December 26, 2012

downtown scottville

SCOTTVILLE — Scottville’s Main Street program got a new boost in recent weeks with the announcement that the program is being recognized as a Master program with the state.

This is good news for the program, which was in jeopardy of losing its recognition with the state because it was not accredited last year.

“We weren’t accredited in 2010/2011,” Main Street Manager Heather Landis said. “We came back from quite a few obstacles. We got re-organized and have higher energy. We have shown the Michigan Main Street program that we are serious about it and they have commented on it that they have seen a 180 degree turn from when they came last fall to do our accreditation.”

The Main Street program was formed in 2008. Technically, it is the same committee as the Downtown Development Authority, a special tax assessment district located within the city’s central business district. But, the Main Street rating allows the district to qualify for more state assistance.

Main Street is a program that allows a community’s businesses to concentrate on four areas: administration, promotions, design and economic restructuring, all with emphasis on historic preservation. It is a formula that has been proven to work throughout Main Street programs across the country.

But, has Main Street had an impact on Scottville?

“I think overall it’s been good for the city,” City Manager Amy Williams said. “I think it has pushed us to do some things that we wouldn’t have done right away, things we would have done on our own. I think it’s a good thing.”

Linda and Roy Holden own Holden’s Home Emporium, which occupies two buildings on Main Street. The Holdens also own Belle of Ball dress shop.

“We need to get the word out that Scottville is still here,” Linda said. “Main Street has been great for the facade grants which have really made the town look nicer. The grants have helped business owners to stretch their dollars and make renovations that need to be done.

“The Main Street program does more than that, though. It brings people together. I would like to see more of the business people get on board, though. It’s always good to get more ideas. That’s the benefit of the Main Street program.”

Toni Bogner is the chair of the Main Street committee. She and her husband, Mitch, own Carr Communications in Carr Settlement and they also own the 4 Star Theater building downtown Scottville. Thanks to the benefits of the Main Street program, the Bogners were able to receive grant funds to restore the building’s historic facade. They also have received grant funds to build apartments on the second floor of the building.

“We went through a major reorganization of sorts and let all the committee volunteers know the dire straits the program was facing and what we all needed to do in order to keep the program viable.

“Everyone involved did a great job at fund raising their own projects and events and following the guidelines the new manager and board initiated. The result was passing the yearly accreditation and reaching the master level with the state.”

Since its inception, the Main Street program has helped renovate several storefronts in town, including the McMaster Building (101 N. Main St.), the old Schoenberger Building (Holden’s), Charlie’s Bar, the Scottville Senior Center and the 4 Star Theater building.

Grant monies have also helped to bring new residences into town with apartments in the 4 Star building and the McMaster building. Financial assistance from the state has also helped pay for a new downtown street scape and helped expand the west parking lot.

Studies have proven that a walkable, clean and attractive downtown will attract visitors. Since the beginning of the program, participants have agreed that revitalizing downtown Scottville will not happen over night. Continuing in the Main Street program, though, seems to be another step in the right direction.

Landis said being a part of Main Street is more important than ever before.

“Many state agencies are now giving higher ranking points to Main Street programs when considering grants. This helps, especially for smaller communities like Scottville. If we were just a DDA we wouldn’t be able to get the trainings and market analysis that the state provides to us, this is something that would cost thousands of dollars a year.”

Story by Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief

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