Virginia Main Street’s annual essentials training provided a two-day session focused on economic restructuring and design challenges facing communities today. A group of more than 60 participants gathered in the heart of Old Town Manassas at the renovated Candy Factory, now home to the Center for the Arts of Greater Manassas and Prince William County.
Hilary Greenberg, of Greenberg Development Services and a former Main Street program manager in North Carolina, guided the group through economic restructuring strategies that are particularly applicable in the current economic climate.
“Main Street has weathered crises before,” she said. “In fact, the program emerged in response to downtown disinvestment, so the economic restructuring tools at your disposal are the uniquely suited to today’s climate.”
Economic restructuring tools include the power of the committee itself, knowledge of the market area and the strategic plan. The approach builds from community strengths, and the strategy to make the most of those strengths can only be developed from within the communty. That’s why an effective committee is so important.
On day two Kathy Frazier of Frazier Associates, well known to designated Main Street Communities through her long-standing community assistance work in facade improvements, wayfinding, and other design strategies, gave a thorough briefing on the design process, historic preservation essentials, and the basic of building improvements. Again, emphasis was placed on the work of an engaged committee of community stakeholders. The day closed with a discussion of the Community Development Block Grant process.
For more information on the training, download the presentations at: http://www.dhcd.virginia.gob/mainstreet.
Hosted by Historic Manassas, Inc., the group enjoyed an opening reception with community and board members and meals from several of Old Town’s restaurants, and the opportunity to explore the merchants and restaurants themselves one day during lunch with the help of a $10 Old Town gift card.