Tennessee Downtowns accepting applications

By | September 15, 2012 12:00 am

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development is now accepting applications for Tennessee Downtowns, a competitive community improvement program for communities seeking to revitalize traditional commercial districts. The program is open to communities with downtown commercial districts established at least 50 years ago and whose citizens are ready to organize efforts for downtown revitalization. Applications are available online at www.tennesseemainstreet.org and must be completed by Thursday, Nov. 1.
“A healthy downtown historic district is a sign of a vibrant local economy,” ECD Commissioner Bill Hagerty said. “Making our downtowns even better places to live and work can pay dividends in terms of attracting new jobs and investment.”
Tennessee Downtowns is a tiered program affiliated with ECD’s Tennessee Main Street Program. Communities selected to participate in Tennessee Downtowns will form a volunteer committee of local citizens who will participate in an 18-month training curriculum supported by the National Main Street Center. The curriculum is based on the successful “Main Street Four-Point Approach to Downtown Revitalizationtm” program and is designed to teach citizens about comprehensive, sustainable downtown revitalization and historic preservation. The training includes attendance at all regional workshops and a $15,000 grant to complete individualized downtown development projects.
“The Tennessee Downtowns program launched in 2009 and has been an incredible asset to our rural communities,” Dan Hawk, ECD Rural Development director, said. “This will be our third round of Tennessee Downtowns communities, and we hope the program will continue to be a vital asset to rural communities across the state.”
Communities participating in the Tennessee Downtowns program may wish to continue a self-initiated downtown revitalization effort at the end of the program or apply for certification in the Tennessee Main Street Program through the competitive application process. Successful completion of the Tennessee Downtowns program does not automatically result in qualification for the Main Street program.
Downtown revitalization is a comprehensive, incremental, self-help economic strategy that also focuses on developing public-private partnerships to enhance community livability and job creation, while maintaining the historic character of the district.
Tennessee’s Main Street program provides communities with technical assistance and guidance in developing long-term strategies that promote economic growth and development. The program provides information and assistance in forging public networking and training opportunities for downtown commercial districts. Tennessee Main Street communities are part of the National Main Street Center’s network.
To apply for the Tennessee Downtowns program or for more information, visit www.tennesseemainstreet.org. For questions about the program, please contact Amy New, 615.253.1948 or Amy.New@tn.gov.

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