State agency jumps on board Niles’ Main Street bandwagon

Published 5:24 pm Friday, June 18, 2004

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- On the anniversary of the first day of the Big Brown Takedown, Niles took another step in its march toward revitalizing its downtown.
The rain held off just long enough on Thursday for Niles to receive the surprise announcement from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation that it had been named a Michigan Main Street Community along with the cities of Muskegon and Clare.
This designation means that Niles will now be receiving state and national assistance to help with its current revitalization efforts. The focus of this technical assistance will be on attracting new businesses and creating more jobs in the central business district.
On May 25, Niles was invited to Lansing to make a presentation to Michigan Economic Development Corp. officials on the progress being made in the city.
She said one of the main benefits will be the state's assistance with business recruitment. The development corporation will help Niles to determine which businesses will work well in our city and give advice on how to get those businesses here.
Jeff Kaczmarek, senior vice president of community development for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, said this designation will be something that will help Niles for many years to come.
Kaczmarek said cities like Niles are the lifeblood of Michigan and the key to moving the entire state forward.
Gloria Cooper, who has been working with improvements in the City of Niles since the 1970s, said this is most exciting and promising time she has seen for the future of Niles.
She said one of the main reasons so much progress has been made lately is because everyone involved is on the same page.
With business owners, city officials, community members and some of the city's former "movers and shakers" present for the announcement on Thursday, Cooper said the diversity of the crowd was a good example of how everyone in the community is interested in making Niles a better place to live.
Niles Mayor Michael McCauslin also acknowledged this fact in his speech attributing the city's success to the shared goals and visions of the entire community.
Elizabeth Bradford, owner of Elizabeth Bradford Designs and design chair for Niles Main Street, spoke briefly at the ceremony and commented on the many changes happening in Niles.
Croteau sees this designation as a Main Street Community as another positive step in Niles' long term improvement process.