Both Denham Springs’ and Hammond’s Main Street programs earned national accreditation for their commercial revitalization standards, said Jacques Berry, communications director for Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne’s office.
The programs are two of six out of the state’s 37 Main Street programs in the state to earn the designation this year, he said.
Accreditation means that the program has met a lengthy list of performance standards set by the National Main Street Center, run by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, said Donna Jennings, who runs the program in Denham Springs.
“It’s a good thing,” Jennings said. “We have great community partners. The Livingston Parish Tourism Board, the Merchants’ Association and the Main Street volunteers.”
As part of the accreditation process, both cities demonstrated their broad-based community support for the commercial district revitalization process, developed a mission statement and vision relevant to each city, put in place a comprehensive work plan for revitalizing the district, and conducts ongoing training for staff and volunteers, the release stated.
As part of its ongoing effort to continue revitalization within the Main Street designated area, Jennings said, the program is working with businesses on Redevelopment Incentive Grants, in which businesses may apply for 50-50 matching grants with Louisiana Main Street to refurbish store fronts.
“If anyone is interested in applying, they should absolutely get in touch with us,” Jennings said. “We will guide them through the process.”
To be considered for national accreditation, programs must meet 10 standards set by the national organization.
“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,” says Patrice Frey, president and CEO of the National Main Street Center. “As the National Main Street Center celebrates its 35th Anniversary, it also is important to celebrate the achievements of the local Main Street programs across the country, some of which have been around since the beginning. 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.”
The Main Street organizations are evaluated annually by Louisiana Main Street, which works in partnership with the National Main Street Center to identify the local programs that meet 10 performance standards.
Evaluation criteria determine 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.
In 2014, Louisiana Main Street districts generated 147 new businesses, 436 new jobs, $57,000,000 in building rehabilitations and new construction, and $50,500,000 in public improvements.
More than 41,000 volunteer hours were recorded by more than 9,000 volunteers. Main Street programs in Louisiana leverage an average of $28 for every public/private dollar invested, the release said.
Louisiana Main Street is a program of the National Main Street Center, Inc., and the Louisiana Office of Cultural Development. For information, visit www.louisianahp.org/mainstreet.