Valdosta Main Street has been designated as an accredited 2016 Main Street America™ program for meeting rigorous performance standards set by the National Main Street Center. This year marks the 32nd consecutive year that the Valdosta Main Street program has received this honor for their exemplary commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization.
Valdosta Main Street is evaluated annually by Department of Community Affairs Office of Downtown Development, which works in partnership with the National Main Street Center. 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.
“Over the past 18 months, we welcomed nine new businesses, nearly 60 jobs and over $5 million in private investments that will bring new development projects and businesses to downtown,” said City Manager Larry Hanson. “Among the exciting developments underway include a downtown Wyndham Hotel, a parking garage and several new businesses. We are proud of our Main Street staff and the downtown merchants who make the heart of our city a beautiful and inviting place.”
Several dozen downtown events—such as the Taste of Downtown Valdosta, Brown Bag Concert Series, Farm Days, Art Walk, First Fridays, and the Holiday Open House, for example—welcome approximately 40,000 visitors to downtown annually. Last year, Valdosta Main Street hosted a town hall session that resulted in the creation of several new events and processes that have improved communication and increase foot traffic. For example, the lighting in Bennies Alley has been upgraded to make the popular gathering place brighter and more attractive for pedestrians and outdoor events.
“Once again, we are thrilled to recognize this year’s nationally accredited Main Street America communities for their outstanding work,” says Patrice Frey, President and CEO of the National Main Street Center. “We are experiencing an exciting era for America’s cities and towns, with a growing recognition of the importance of strong local enterprise, distinctive character, engaged residents, and sense of place. These are things that Main Street America programs have been working to protect and advance for years, strengthening the economic, social, and cultural fabric of communities across the country.”
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 $65.6 billion in new public and private investment, generated 556,960 net new jobs and 126,476 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 260,000 buildings. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
For more information about Valdosta Main Street, call 229-259-3577 or visit http://www.valdostacity.com/main-street.