Main StreetSince forming as a result of Charlotte’s Project Rising Tide action plan, #CharlotteRising has been planning, building capacity and rallying community support around revitalizing downtown Charlotte. All of those efforts to this point were on full display Tuesday, July 26, as the organization played host to Brittney Hoszkiw, Michigan Main Street Organizational Specialist, and Nate Scramlin, Senior Community Assistance Specialist with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
#CharlotteRising is in the process of putting together its application to advance to the next level of the Michigan Main Street program. Tuesday’s visit was a chance to gauge the community’s progress towards that goal, and spread awareness of the impact becoming a Michigan Main Street Select level community could make.
Charlotte was accepted this year to enter into the Associate level of the Michigan Main Street program. Becoming a Main Street community was one of the action items listed in Charlotte’s Project Rising Tide Action plan aimed at revitalizing the city’s downtown.
“You have a wonderful community,” Hoszkiew said. “You have a beautiful downtown, great historic buildings that you haven’t demoed and turned into strip malls, and very low vacancy rate, which just speaks volumes to the investment that this community has in itself.”
By the time Hoszkiw left the Charlotte community, she was convinced no stone had been left unturned. She had spent nearly 12 hours in Charlotte meeting with business leaders, key stakeholders and touring many of the assets in the community.
“Of the 20-something communities that are at the Associate level, Charlotte is definitely one that stands out,” Hoszkiw said of Charlotte’s participation in the Michigan Main Street program. “Not just for the infrastructure or assets you have in place, but the people and the support that exists here.”
Hoszkiw said just three communities will be chosen to advance to the Select level of the Main Street program, adding that she knows of at least six communities that have stated their intent to apply. Demonstrating the level of community buy-in towards revitalization efforts will be key in presenting a strong case for selection, Hoszkiw said.
“The number one indicator of success for a Michigan Main Street community is the level of public and private sector partnerships,” she said. “It’s really going to take the community as a whole to move the needle downtown.”
Charlotte Community Development Director, Bryan Myrkle said he believes #CharlotteRising is doing a good job generating community awareness and support.
“There is a much greater level of awareness,” Myrkle said. “#CharlotteRising has really harnessed the strength of social media and we’ve seen a stream of good news and steady flow of positive news.”
Myrkle believes the community is in prime position to continue on its path to revitalization.
“The biggest thing I see is a willingness to believe this can succeed,” Myrkle said.
Applications for Select community membership are due Dec. 2. The #CharlotteRising steering committee is nearly halfway through the extensive application and is currently working on a fund-raising strategy that would provide the necessary budget to move forward as a Select level community.
Becoming a Select level community requires the hiring of one full-time Main Street manager. Hoszkiw said the average salary among current Michigan Main Street Select level managers is $45,000 per year, which typically accounts for one-third of a community’s Main Street budget.
Hoszkiw urged Charlotte citizens interested in helping #CharlotteRising submit a successful application to do one of three things: volunteer, fundraise, and continue to share the good things happening in the community.