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Main St. director is stepping down

Main St. director is stepping down

Posted: Friday, June 11, 2010 9:07 pm

By DONNA RYDER
Associate Editor
After 17 years on the job, Glenda Chrisp of Union City is stepping down from the post of executive director of Main Street-Union City.
“I’ve been here since 1993 and I decided it’s time to do something else,” she said, adding they’ve been great years.
And what will she do with her time? “Maybe travel, keep the grandchildren … I won’t sit down and do nothing. I’ve been too involved in the community to stop now,” she said.
Mrs. Chrisp is only the second named executive director of the organization, which was formed in 1991. The first director, Lyda Rice, had left after running for and winning a seat on the Union City Council. In the interim, volunteers kept the office open.
The Main Street board gave Mrs. Chrisp an ultimatum when she started to work — make Main Street work within three months or close up shop. And, the rest is history, so to speak.
Since its inception, Main Street has acted as a liaison between the public and private sectors to help transform downtown Union City into a cultural, social, professional and retail center. The organization has partnered with the Obion County Chamber of Commerce to purchase and restore the historical railroad depot, which currently houses the Chamber offices. Members have restored and replicated period lighting around the railroad depot and throughout the downtown area. Historical pewter ornaments were also ordered by Main Street to raise money and to commemorate historical buildings in Union City.
With a $20,000 grant, 122 trees were planted in the city. Main Street raised money to help Masquerade Theatre renovate the exterior of the Capitol Theatre. Twelve sites and two districts have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places with assistance from Main Street. And, decorative stop and yield signs, decorative lamps and signage for the historic area have been placed downtown by the organization. Most recently, a kiosk has been placed at Merchant Park to advertise events hosted by non-profit organizations.
Main Street, which hosts an annual auction, directly assists Main Street business owners providing shrubs for city parking lots, promoting the opening of new businesses, assisting store owners on color schemes for exteriors and utilizing matching funds with store owners to restore historical facade of buildings and to finance building restoration on the 100 and 300 blocks.
Main Street has been recognized nationally for its outstanding achievements in the areas of historical preservation and downtown revitalization. It is a charter member community of the Tennessee Main Street Association and a has been certified as a Main Street Community by the National Main Street Center. Main Street-Union City has generated more than $100,000 that has been reinvested into the community. Without Main Street’s exclusive access to certain grant moneys, funding for downtown projects would have to come from the private sector.
Main Street is also a sponsoring organization of the annual CornFest Festival and is the parent organization of Adult Leadership Obion County.
As executive director, Mrs. Chrisp has taken on many responsibilities, which include, but are not limited to, managing fund raising for Main Street, developing a coalition of the downtown business community, reviving and restoring the perception of the original business district and promoting and stimulating economic development.
In her 17 years in the executive director’s seat, Main Street has tripled its income for fund raising, dues and donations; established a low interest loan program for Union City businesses; and secured and implemented federal grant to promote energy efficiency in Obion County. Mrs. Chrisp has procured numerous state grants and has served as Tennessee Bicentennial chairman for Obion County; TMSA state program manager; Union City Beautification chairman, resulting in Three Star designation; and chairman for Obion County Tennessee Treasure Volunteers Program. She also established the Obion County Main Street Internship Program with the University of Tennessee.
She has received the Tennessee Historical Commission Preservationist award, the Tennessee Historical Commission Contributor’s Award, TMSA Designated Economic Development Award, TMSA Best Design Award, National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Most Outstanding Achievement Award and National Main Street Center Most Outstanding Performance Scholarship Award and was honored by the Tennessee Historical Commission for her work during the state’s Bicentennial.
She was a class member of 1994-95 Leadership Obion County, has attended Governor’s Conference, Tourism Conference, National Main Street Conference, TMSA Conference and small business seminars in Atlanta and Chicago. She is currently serving as a mentor for West Tennessee Downtowns, a program under the directorship of the Tennessee Main Street office.
In addition to her work through Main Street, Mrs. Chrisp is very active in the community. She has been a member of Visionary Committee for Union City; a voter registration drive volunteer, secretary of Poplar Meadows Country Club, treasurer of Union City Tennis League and past president of Delphian Review Club. In Junior Auxiliary of Obion County, she has been charity ball chairman, public relations chairman and finance chairman and is a life associate member. She has served as speaker at numerous communities and civic clubs to promote economic development and historic preservation.
Mrs. Chrisp is a member of Union City First Methodist Church Member, where she is in the church choir.
She is married to Tommy Chrisp. They have three daughters and sons-in-law, Letitia Jan and Michael Barnett of Murray, Ky., Lisa Gaye and Randy Scott of Murfreesboro and Stephanie and Benn Stewart of Nashville. They have three grandchildren, Brian Barnett, Kristin Barnett and James William Stewart. She is the daughter of Kathryne Sims and the late James Sims.
Mrs. Chrisp said although she has informed the board of her intentions, she will not leave Main Street until after CornFest festivities. She plans for her last day to be around Sept. 30.
“I said all along it will be bittersweet. I’ve been here long enough and worked through the hard times to get to the good time. I will be sad when I go, but there’s got to be life after Main Street,” she said.
Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by e-mail at dryder@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 6.11.10

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