Niles Main Street loses accreditation

Niles Main Street has lost its status as a National Main Street Program, falling short of one of the 10 criteria necessary to maintain its accreditation.

“One of the criteria that Niles fell short on was active boards and committees,” said Laura Krizov, manager of Michigan Main Street Program, which is responsible for overseeing main streets in the state.

Niles Main Street is a volunteer-driven program whose purpose is to revitalize downtown Niles. It is comprised of a board of directors and four committees.

Niles Main Street has been an accredited program for more than 10 years, according to the program’s manager, Lisa Croteau, who said the organization learned of the change of status Oct. 29.

“We kind of knew this was coming,” she said, explaining that the organization essentially did not have enough volunteers to meet the fifth criteria of having an active board of directors and committees.

Krizov said it is not uncommon for main streets in Michigan to lose accreditation status, especially during times of transition of leadership on boards and committees — something Niles Main Street has experienced.

“Whenever you have a change in leadership at any level it can affect the program and the direction the program is going,” she said.

Krizov said her team would work closely with Niles Main Street over the next six months to help the program regain its accreditation status.

She said Niles Main Street has already made progress toward that goal in the past few months.

“I am really encouraged by what we did see on site and the direction that they are going in,” she said. “I expect this to be a very quick and positive turnaround.”

Krizov said accredited programs have access to many services through Michigan Main Street, including branding, design, market studies and market research. Losing the accreditation status, she said, would not have any effect on Niles in the short term.

Croteau said she and the Niles Main Street Board of Directors are committed to doing whatever it takes to regain accreditation.

She said they would need help from the community in order to do so, particularly in the form of volunteers for Niles Main Street committees.

Croteau can be reached by phone at (269) 687-4332 or online at uncoverniles.com.

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