In the summer of 2010, Virginia Main Street (VMS) provided seven Downtown Improvement Grants (DIGs) that allowed designated Main Street communities to undertake specific projects for which they did not otherwise have funding. The small grants, capped at $2,500, were awarded in a competitive process based on projected outcomes, committee and volunteeer leadership, and the capacity to successfully complete the planned project.
While Virginia Main Street will continue to monitor the projects throughout the spring for outcomes, two of the projects have already been recognized in local media outlets for their progress and impact in their communities.
In Culpeper, The Star-Exponent acknowledged the VMS Downtown Improvement Grant for making “Downtown’s New Look” possible. Read the article for a review of the community decision to use bright colors in the historic district. The paper also noted in a June 4, 2010 editorial that the bright colors of Culpeper Renaissance Initiative’s downtown banners, “can add a sparkle downtown.”
In Harrisonburg, two Daily News-Record articles, (“Enticing Massanutten Tourists,” and “Cuchi Guidos Closes in the City”) noted the importance of the VMS DIG grant in supporting Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance’s efforts to support and retain existing businesses. The strategic initiative developed tools to attract more Massanutten Resort guests to the dining, shopping, and cultural options of Downtown Harrisonburg. Products included a coupon book, dining and children’s storytelling tour development, and familiarization tours for front line hospitality staff from the surrounding area.
We’ll post more results and more media coverage in the coming months. For information on the projects funded, read the June 29 Virginia Main Street blog post.