Kent Downtown Partnership has been designated as an accredited Main Street America™ program for meeting rigorous performance standards set by the National Main Street Center. Each year, the National Main Street Center and its Coordinating Program partners announce the list of accredited Main Street America programs in recognition of their exemplary commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization through the Main Street Approach®.
“It is a great honor to recognize this year’s 828 nationally Accredited Main Street America programs for their outstanding work to transform downtown and neighborhood commercial districts,” says Patrice Frey, President & CEO of the National Main Street Center. “Main Streets are the heart of our communities, and the work they do to create quality public spaces, catalyze local entrepreneurship, and support downtown housing is more important than ever. Across the county, Main Street America programs truly strengthen the economic, social, and cultural fabric of their entire communities.”
The organization’s performance is annually evaluated by Washington State’s Main Street Program which works in partnership with the National Main Street Center to identify the local programs that meet ten performance standards. Evaluation criteria determines 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.
Randall Smith, President of Kent Downtown Partnership says: “As current Board President and a small business owner, I personally believe the reason for our success is directly related to our very involved Board members and amazing office staff, all of whom share the same vision. The work completed on the Multi-Service Center building was to expose the original transom windows, which look wonderful. Next, we exposed bricks on the Harmon Rick building, making the name of the original building more visible. And, to encourage building and business owners to properly maintain their storefronts, we offer façade improvement grans to help our small business owners improve their look and appeal. This is all in an effort to attract more businesses to our community, therefore, bringing more people into our historic downtown.”
Although Kent Downtown Partnership (KDP) is very interested in how our historic downtown looks and feels we are equally interested in maintaining and bringing back the historical look of the few historic buildings we have left.
This effort is being led by 2017’s Washington State Main Street award winner, Mr. Gregg Haffner, of the Excellent on Main Street award. He is leading this effort as well as helping getting a section of our downtown designated as a “historic district”. Or current President Randall Smith and Past-President, Mike Miller are putting together a Possibility Tour to showcase our downtown to commercial realtors, property owners and others interested in development in downtowns. The momentum is electrifying!
Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for more than 35 years. Today, it is a network of more than 1,000 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Since 1980, communities participating in the program have leveraged more than $71.35 billion in new public and private investment, generated 583,869 net new jobs and 131,974 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 267,800 buildings. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
[Source: Press release from Kent Downtown Partnership]