NASHVILLE – Commissioner Matt Kisber of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development today announced the launch of Tennessee Downtowns, a competitive community improvement program for cities and counties seeking to revitalize traditional commercial districts.
The program is open to communities with downtown commercial districts established at least 50 years ago and ready to organize efforts for downtown revitalization based on the successful “Main Street Four-Point Approach to Downtown Revitalizationt™.”
Applications are available online at www.tennesseemainstreet.org, and must be completed by February 5, 2010.
Tennessee Downtowns is part of ECD’s Tennessee Main Street Program and will award up to six innovation project grants. Successful applicants will also receive an 18-month program of technical assistance which includes training on downtown revitalization and historic preservation, an introductory site visit, attendance at a two-day downtown revitalization workshop and a grant of up to $15,000.
“Tennessee Downtowns is a natural extension of the Main Street program and serves as a valuable introduction for communities across the state to the critical concept of downtown revitalization,” said Commissioner Kisber. “I encourage communities to apply for this innovative program and take the first steps toward a rebuilding a thriving central business district.”
Communities that participate in the Tennessee Downtowns program may wish to continue a self-initiated downtown revitalization effort at the end of the program or apply for certification in the Tennessee Main Street Program through the competitive application process. Successful completion of the Tennessee Downtowns program does not automatically result in qualification for the Main Street program.
“A vibrant downtown is a crucial piece of the economic development puzzle for communities of all sizes,” said Rick Meredith, assistant commissioner for Community Development at ECD. “A groundbreaking program like this one will help communities to lay the foundation for sustainable economic growth.”
“The National Trust Main Street Center is very proud to see our partner in Tennessee adding such an innovative program which brings the resources of the Main Street Four Point Approach™ to a larger number of communities,” says Lauren Adkins, assistant director for field services at the National Trust Main Street Center. “This program shows great promise and continues the strong record of success that Tennessee Main Street has achieved in recent years.”
Main Street revitalization is a comprehensive, incremental, self-help economic strategy that also focuses on developing public-private partnerships to enhance community livability and job creation, while maintaining the historic character of the district.
For information about the Main Street Program and the Main Street Four Point Approach™, visit http://www.preservationnation.org/main-street/about-main-street/.
Tennessee’s Main Street program provides communities with technical assistance and guidance in developing long-term strategies that promote economic growth and development. The program provides information and assistance in forging public networking and training opportunities for downtown commercial districts.
For more information about Tennessee Downtowns, visit www.tennesseemainstreet.org.
About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to create higher skilled, better paying jobs for all Tennesseans. The department seeks to attract new corporate investment in Tennessee and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. To find out more, go to www.tnecd.gov.