Niles recognized as Nationally Accredited Main Street community

Published 8:18 pm Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ten communities have been recognized as Nationally Accredited Main Street communities by the National Trust Main Street Center and the Michigan Main Street Center at MSHDA, Gary Heidel, executive director of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), announced Thursday.

Those recognized are Niles Owosso, Scottville, Old Town Lansing, Iron Mountain, Portland, Boyne City, Calumet, Grand Haven and Clare. Grand Haven joins the other five accredited communities who have been at the Master Level of the Michigan Main Street program.

The Michigan Main Street Center is part of MSHDA’s effort to create vibrant communities across the state. Numerous recent studies show that investing in our downtowns creates vibrant centers where people want to live, work and invest. The mission of the Michigan Main Street Center at MSHDA is to encourage community revitalization and economic development through:

• Organization: assembling the appropriate human and financial resources to implement a Main Street revitalization program.

• Promotion: selling a positive image of the commercial district and encouraging consumers and investors to live, work, shop, play and invest in the Main Street district.

• Design: capitalizing on the district’s best assets, such as historic buildings and pedestrian-oriented streets.

• Economic restructuring: strengthening a community’s existing economic assets while expanding and diversifying its economic base.

“The Michigan Main Street Program provides communities with the tools needed to develop into thriving districts,” said Heidel. “These tools can be used to create jobs, attract and retain residents and investment while building a sense of place in Michigan communities.”

Each of the Michigan Main Street Selected Level communities is evaluated annually using a year-end evaluation process and accreditation criteria intended to assist each community in performing up to National Accreditation standards as prescribed by the National Trust Main Street Center. Though accreditation as a Michigan Main Street community is a significant milestone, it is also critical for the community to maintain the accreditation status once it has been earned.

Communities with a traditional downtown or neighborhood commercial district can be selected annually as an Associate Level Michigan Main Street Community. After completion of one year of Associate Level training, as well as a multi-step application process based on the four key points mentioned above, communities are eligible to move up to the Selected Level.