Friday, Dec. 8, a steering committee from the Eaton Rapids Marketing Alliance, as well as representatives of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation gave a presentation to the Eaton Rapids Downtown Development Authority. The presentation was about the Michigan Main Street program, which is offered through MEDC as a way to instruct communities through the process of revitalizing their downtown. The presentation was given to the Eaton Rapids DDA as a way to prompt their participation in Michigan Main Street, which is the precedent, set by other towns that have participated in the program.

The Eaton Rapids Marketing Alliance has been working through the application process and first steps of Michigan Main Street for the last year. Representatives from the alliance have attended main street basics training and practice where they learned more about what other towns have accomplished through with the program’s help. Upon taking part in these training sessions, the ERMA learned that the majority of communities participating in the main street program used the DDA to facilitate a town’s participation and enacting of the program.

Other neighboring communities like Charlotte and Old Town Lansing have worked with Michigan Main Street. Eaton Rapids DDA director Sheri Dubois and Eaton Rapids Quality of Life Director Troy Stowell attended the main street trainings and briefed the DDA on the program outline.

According to Stowell, the Dec. 8 meeting was “well received.” The next steps in the process include the ERMA main street steering committee finishing communications and fund development plans for the MEDC by Dec. 23. In the coming months there will be more joint meetings with Michigan Main Street representatives and the Eaton Rapids DDA. “Main Street Champion” will be held to increase community and public excitement about the program.

Taking the first steps with Michigan Main Street is one of several projects initiated by the Eaton Rapids Marketing Alliance. The Eaton Rapids Teen Center is another one of the ERMA’s big undertakings. ERMA’s projects and other community efforts like the Create Place meetings with the Eaton Rapids Arts Council and Arts Council of Greater Lansing are further testament to the many exciting, locally driven efforts to market Eaton Rapids as a worthwhile place to be. The DDA, the Eaton Rapids Arts Council, the ERMA are all Eaton Rapids based groups made up of neighbors who care about the quality of Eaton Rapids, both for its citizens and for its visitors. There are opportunities to be involved with any of these groups and their projects. Find these organizations online and on Facebook to keep up with their progress, or to find ways to volunteer.