Last fall, the Town of Louisa formally joined the Virginia Main Street (VMS) network and became an Exploring Main Street (EMS) community! The Louisa Forward Foundation (LFF), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit initiated by the Louisa County Chamber of Commerce, will serve as the lead organization and focus on creating improved economic opportunity downtown and enhancing quality of life through community-driven revitalization efforts.
Julie Manzari, LFF volunteer and board member, spearheaded the effort to help the Town of Louisa become an official EMS community and use the VMS tier status to bolster new growth and development and make Louisa a fun and unique place to live, work and play, as well as an attractive destination for visitors!
“Exploring Main Street opens opportunities to attend a variety of trainings, access to downtown revitalization resources and materials, secure consultations regarding key issues, and we will have access to grants and potential funding to support our community.” – Julie Manzari, Board Member, LFF
In January 2022, VMS staff conducted a What is Main Street? presentation for LFF board members, providing some background on the Main Street Approach and what resources are available to help support community revitalization efforts. Stemming from that training and other conversations, LFF plans to hold strategic planning meetings to explore next steps and how best to enhance the undeniable charm, culture and historic quality of downtown Louisa!
While those strategic planning efforts are gearing up and/or taking place, a new initiative, Meet Me on Main, will be launched on April 7th and held the first Thursday of each month (through September) to get people downtown to dine and shop, and retail stores will stay open later into the evening!
“We are grateful to the Louisa Forward Foundation for pursuing this and thrilled to be a part of this nationally renowned program. The support we will receive from Virginia Main Street will have a positive impact on our town’s revitalization efforts.” – Garland Nuckols, Mayor, Town of Louisa
As a Main Street America (MSA) State Coordinating Program, VMS offers a range of services and assistance to communities across the Commonwealth that are interested in revitalizing their historic commercial districts. While the program was designed to address the need for revitalization and on-going management of smaller to mid-sized downtowns, aspects of the Main Street Approach may be applied successfully in other commercial settings.
Click here to view the VMS Program Guidelines to learn more about EMS tier requirements and resources, as well as how the VMS program can help your community achieve its downtown revitalization goals!