By: Layla Price, MSM Board Member, Economic Restructuring Committee Chairperson
You may be familiar with our mission. Main Street Marion, like all other accredited Main Street associations, exists to fulfill a mission to promote and stimulate the downtown economy through a four-point approach system: design, economic restructuring, organization and promotions. Main Street Marion has taskforces devoted to the satisfaction of projects and programs under each of the above four pillars.
For several years, MSM had hung their hat on planning multiple events, most notably First Friday Riverfront Festivals, to bring in visitors and unify the community. As time has evolved, groups have taken on organizing these events, and they have evolved beyond the riverfront into Downtown Celebrations, which also occur on First Fridays. MSM celebrates the community taking ownership of these downtown gatherings, and we continue to promote them and partner with groups when needed, while still hosting some events and programs that we have determined fit the mission of our organization, and that bring in dollars to keep our organization going.
But MSM’s main focus is to achieve our goals under the four pillars. We are focusing our attention more on projects and programs that yield lasting, tangible downtown improvements. We have a work plan in place to complete projects such as a second mural (the first was Benchmark, a mini-mural program around the square), the Beautification Program, a new “Welcome Downtown” program for new businesses and organizations, and other partnered projects to incentivize and retain businesses downtown.
That said, we believe it’s important to listen to the new administration and listen to our downtown constituents. We are working to create more engagement and eliminate disorganization within the downtown community. We are developing a survey to help us assess our current business owners’ needs, concerns and ideas.
And last year, we developed a downtown coalition called the Downtown Roundtable, which invites downtown stakeholders to gather in one room on a regular basis to focus on ways to improve downtown. The necessary partners needed to take action on common goals are present at the table, and if they are not, they are contacted about issues addressed at the table. The purpose is to gain common ground and work together to achieve what many of us have been working separately to achieve. We are excited about this collaboration and hope that it continues to grow as an effective catalyst for sustainable change.
Downtown constituents interested in becoming a part of this coalition are encouraged to email Main Street Marion Director, Taylor Hawk, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (765) 662-1192, and request to be on the emailing list for the Downtown Roundtable. Or just contact us to inquire about anything related to downtown. Our website is currently being updated, so the best way to get the latest news from MSM is by following our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/mainstreetmarion.
We invite you to help us plant seeds to mobilize activity and growth, and create the flourishing downtown of our dreams.