Virginia Main Street (VMS) launched a new training series recently that prepares Main Street community champions for the “switch to six,” illuminating the new Main Street America Evaluation Framework through stories from across the network. It is based on best practices for successful Main Street programs and sets a path for growth and development for newer ones.
If you missed it, watch the first webinar of the series, Broad-based Community Commitment to Revitalization. It focuses on the importance of diversity of strong partnerships, continued outreach and communication to successfully launch and sustain a program over the long run. Amanda Elliott, Senior Program Officer and Director of California Programs for Main Street America (MSA), shares insights and practical examples of how to foster a culture of inclusion, engagement and commitment from all sectors of the community.
Following the webinar, representative leaders from ten Mobilizing Main Street (MMS) communities met for their first Cohort Huddle and reflected on training highpoints and how they can use what they’ve learned to help their organizations make future changes:
- In the early stages of program development, local leaders agreed that outreach through visioning events, focus groups and surveys is essential to find out what residents want most for their downtowns. Doing so avoids controversy with poorly conceived plans and, instead, informs a community supported strategy that fuels momentum.
- Colonial Beach pointed out that local collaborations with the municipality, property owners and businesses were essential to secure and utilize their Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) license for their new Sip and Stroll business promotion. Public support is paramount to both approve the license and inspire event participation.
- Communicating with the public is ongoing using a broad platform of social media, electronic newsletters and face-to-face meet ups to keep downtown advocacy efforts and impacts in the forefront of residents’ minds. You want to make it easy for them to commit both time and money to the local Main Street efforts.
If you want to learn more, please join us on March 16th for the second webinar in the Switch to Six Training Series. In this webinar, we’ll focus on the driving center of all Main Street communities – its people, fostering an inclusive culture, active board leadership and supportive volunteer base. Click here to register!
Looking for other great webinars and training? Check out the Training Resources tab on the VMS Blog!