PDT Staff Writer
For the second year Main Street Portsmouth (MSP) has been nationally accredited by the National Main Street Program. They were given the distinction for meeting the commercial district revitalization performance standards set by the National Trust Main Street Center.
Main Street Portsmouth, along with 675 other communities, was accredited.
“Rebuilding a district’s economic health and maintaining that success requires a broad-based community involvement and support, in addition to establishing a solid organization with sound management that is committed to long-term success,” Doug Loescher, director of the National Trust Main Street Center, said in a released statement.
The National Trust Main Street Center forms partnerships with Main Street communities throughout the United States to work with local programs to meet the National Trust Main Street Center’s 10 basic performance standards.
MSP has to go through an annual evaluation to maintain its accreditation. Jeff Siegler conducted the evaluation and is coordinating the organization for Main Street programs throughout Ohio.
“It has been an honor to be a part of such a hard-working, dedicated group of people working together for the good and growth of our progressing community. The accreditation from the National Trust is a true affirmation of the progress our Main Street organization has achieved and an indication of more success to come,” Siegler said.
Since its beginnings the National Trust Main Street Center has helped hundreds of downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts across the nation.
The Ohio Main Street Program has evaluated MSP based on 2008 performance and determined they have met all 10 performance standards and criteria required, including:
1. Have broad-based community support for the commercial district revitalization process, with strong support from both the public and private sectors;
2. Develop vision and mission statements relevant to community conditions and to the local Main Street program’s organizational stage;
3. Have a comprehensive Main Street work plan;
4. Possess and exhibit an historic preservation ethic;
5. Have an active board of directors and committees;
6. Have an adequate operating budget;
7. Have a paid professional program manager;
8. Conduct a program of ongoing training for staff and volunteers;
9. Report key statistics; and
10. Have a current membership in the National Main Street Network membership program.
Volunteer committees of MSP work using annual work plans, to accomplish their goals.
Some of the accomplishments of MSP since its inception include:
Raising more than $40,000 invested in Alexandria Park, the Roy Rogers Esplanade and other downtown areas; donating more than 500 annual volunteer hours since 2003 on planting, watering and upkeep; empowering business owners with the quarterly networking breakfasts; developing a strategic plan for the district; creating a market analysis; and holding a monthly “Live at 5” serving as a showcase of businesses with live music and car shows.
MSP believes in the revitalization of downtown Portsmouth. A vital component to the success of this redevelopment effort is the partnership with private property owners. MSP hopes to encourage private investment in commercial buildings of the MSP district through a program which offers financial incentives to property and business owners to improve the appearance and quality of their storefronts. The Building Improvement Program kicked off in 2008, is designed to promote improvements to storefronts in the MSP district. In 2008, MSP awarded $30,000 to property owners in the Main Street district in recognition of the positive impact that individual building renovations can have on the overall appearance and quality of their storefronts. Partners in this program include the City of Portsmouth, MSP, the Scioto Foundation and Heritage Ohio and will be administered by MSP. The goals of MSP for 2009 include, growing the Building Improvement Program by $10,000. MSP also has plans to perform a feasibility study for a business incubator, including market potential, among many others.
For more information about MSP or on ways to contribute call 464-0203 or visit www.mainstreetportsmouthohio.org.
WAYNE ALLEN can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 208.