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Revitalizing Martin’s downtown district focus of two-day workshop

Revitalizing Martin’s downtown district focus of two-day workshop
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s Tennessee Main Street Program hosted a two-day conference this week, the Downtown Revitalization Workshop, at the Sheraton Nashville Downtown Monday June 28 – Tuesday, June 29.
Representatives from Tennessee’s 24 Main Street communities and 10 Tennessee Downtowns communities attended the free educational workshop, which was made possible through a $50,000 sponsorship from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development.
The City of Martin was recently chosen by the State as a Tennessee Downtowns community.
“Vibrant downtowns are the heart of a community and provide a solid foundation for future economic development,” said Commissioner Kisber.
“In 2009, Tennessee Main Street communities generated more than $90 million in public and private investment in downtown districts and created more than 266 new jobs.”
 Keynote speakers for the workshop included Commissioner Kisber; David Brown, acting president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation; Judy O’Bannon, host and producer of WFYI-TV public television series Communities Building Community; and Donovan Rypkema, principal of Place Economics.
ECD partnered with the National Trust Main Street Center to offer two tracks of sessions for attendees led by National Main Street Program Officers Kathy LaPlante and Todd Barman. 
An introductory track was geared towards new Main Street communities and the Tennessee Downtowns communities and an advanced track was offered for more seasoned Main Street communities.
The workshop is a component of the Tennessee Downtowns program and aligns with Main Street’s annual training.
“The work that Main Street and Tennessee Downtowns put into their communities adds a great deal of value for the existing members of the community, as well as to potential new businesses and residents,” said Rick Meredith, assistant commissioner of Community Development at ECD.
“The training provided at our Downtown Revitalization Workshop will help these communities create a long-term strategy for their communities’ sustainability and development.”
“As our Main Street Program grows and with this year’s launch of the Tennessee Downtowns program, we are excited to share our resources and examples of what other historic downtowns are doing across the country with program members,” said Kimberly Nyberg, director of the Tennessee Main Street Program and Tennessee Downtowns.
“I am excited to see how this workshop, its resources and its message will inspire our communities to continue the important work of revitalizing Tennessee’s downtowns.”
Two representatives from each Tennessee Main Street community and the five-member steering committees of the Tennessee Downtowns communities were given scholarships for the workshop.
The scholarships included hotel arrangements, some meals, registration fees and all educational materials. Participants were only responsible for their own transportation, parking and dinner the first night.
Main Street revitalization is a comprehensive, incremental, self-help economic strategy that also focuses on developing public-private partnerships to enhance community livability and job creation, while maintaining the historic character of the district.
For information about the Main Street Program and the Main Street Four Point Approach™, visit http://www.preservationnation.org/main-street/about-main-street/.
Celina, Erwin, Jefferson City, Martin, Milan, Mt. Pleasant, Monterey, Paris, Selmer and Sweetwater were selected to participate in the Tennessee Downtowns program in March of this year.
Each are home to downtown commercial districts established at least 50 years ago and have demonstrated their readiness to organize efforts for downtown revitalization based on the successful “Main Street Four-Point Approach to Downtown Revitalizationtm.” 
For more information about Tennessee Main Street and Tennessee Downtowns, visit www.tennesseemainstreet.org.
To find out more about the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, visit www.tnecd.gov or www.investtennessee.org
WCP 7.01.10

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