When you invest in something you want to know that it’s money well spent. Sometimes all it takes is a quick look at your portfolio. Other times we rely on experts to do a check up, test vitals, and come up with an objective assessment. It turns out that in order for Main Street Kent to continue to be an accredited National Main Street Program they have to go through an annual assessment, and as an investor in Main Street Kent I was very pleased to read the high marks provided by the state administrator. Here’s a press release noting the renewal of Main Street Kent’s accreditation.
Basking in the glow from the Grand Opening of Phase 1 of the Phoenix Project Main Street Kent received equally glowing remarks from the State Administrator. Coincidence? I think not. When you’ve got a six million dollar private investment occuring on Main Street and a builder who consistently says he would not be making the investment had it not been for the Main Street organization, it’s easy to understand why the State Administrator was so impressed.
I had a chance to listen to Mr. Burbick’s presentation of his Phoenix Project at the Kent Rotary Club this week and sure enough once again he credited Main Street for catching his interest and sparking his investment. The truth is Mr. Burbick has been around Kent for 30 years and he has watched with great interest (and frustration) as development project ideas came and went so when Main Street arrived on the scene he saw his chance to write a different ending to the story. And frankly he’s proving to be a rather prolific writer.
We always hoped that Main Street would be an attractor and aggregator of energy, actions and resources. It was never meant to be the answer to all our problems but it was hoped to be a way to solve problems as a community that points with pride to future of our downtown and our City overall. Thankfully Main Street Kent has done that and more.
Whether we like it or not downtowns tend to be how cities are judged; they’re the public face that creates the first and lasting impressions of what kind of place it is that we call home. That’s why I’m extremely grateful for the hard work of all the Main Street volunteers and investors big and small that are laying the groundwork for the next 50 years in downtown Kent. And it’s nice to see the State Adminstrator recognize their success as well.
But truth be told, as great as the state recognition may be, the even greater testimonial came from the room full of Rotarians who gave Ron Burbick a rousing standing ovation for what he’s doing in downtown Kent. That’s what Main Street Kent is all about.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 13, 2009
Contact: Anderson Turner
Public Relations Committee Chair
Main Street Kent Board of Directors
Main Street Kent Receives Re-Accreditation Evaluator “Very Impressed”
Main Street Kent, the local non-profit agency focused on downtown development, recently received glowing reviews from Heritage Ohio, the state Main Street organization. Main Street, a nationwide program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, requires all local Main Street organizations to meet a list of standards to receive accreditation each year in order to continue as a member of both the state and national organization.
On Thursday, February 12, 2009, Jeff Siegler of Heritage Ohio, arrived in Kent for a day-long evaluation of Main Street Kent. Mr. Siegler, a self-described fan of Kent, is uniquely qualified to assess Main Street Kent’s progress over the last two years. Mr. Siegler visited Kent two and a half years ago as part of a Downtown Assessment Resource Team (D.A.R.T.). At that time, Siegler and his colleagues determined that although downtown Kent had declined and there were empty storefronts, there was much potential. He was excited to see many changes to downtown Kent: the Black Squirrel Gallery and KSU Downtown Gallery in a previously-vacant building, the Phoenix Project, the Baeckeri, Scribbles Coffee Shop, Professor’s Pub, the Empire shop, remodeled Ray’s and Water Street Tavern and relocated Leander’s Barber Shop. Additionally he saw the recently developed model for the next phases of the Phoenix Project. Siegler was very excited for the future of Main Street Kent and Downtown Kent.
The Main Street Kent Board of Directors presented their 2009 Work Plan which is required of Main Street communities. After reviewing the plan, Siegler said he ”did not have any suggestions for improvement because he did not find any weaknesses”. The Main Street Kent 2009 Work Plan will be unveiled at the Annual Meeting on February 19, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. at the Kent Stage.
Special thanks to our sponsors – the City of Kent, Kent State University, and the Burbick Foundation. Siegler was encouraged to see the partnerships that had been formed to assist with the downtown revitalization. Siegler told the Main Street Kent Board of Directors, that he was “very impressed with the work of Main Street Kent over the last two years.”