Main Street Chanute receives accreditation

Main Street Chanute has been designated as a 2020 Accredited Main Street America™ program. Accredited status is Main Street America’s top tier of recognition and signifies a demonstrated commitment to comprehensive commercial district revitalization and a proven track record of successfully applying the Main Street Approach™. 

“We are proud to recognize this year’s 860 Nationally Accredited Main Street America programs that have dedicated themselves to strengthening their communities,” said Patrice Frey, President & CEO of the National Main Street Center. “These Accredited Main Street programs have proven to be powerful engines for revitalization by sparking impressive economic returns and preserving the character of their communities. During these challenging times, these Main Street programs will be key to bringing economic vitality back to commercial districts and improving quality of life during the recovery process.”

In 2019 alone, $6.45 billion in public and private reinvestment was generated, 6,466 net new businesses were opened, 32,316 net new jobs were created, and 10,412 buildings were rehabilitated in Main Street America communities.

Main Street Chanute’s performance is evaluated by the Kansas Main Street program, which works in partnership with Main Street America to identify the local programs that meet ten rigorous performance standards. Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, documenting programmatic progress, and actively preserving historic buildings.

“When the Kansas Main Street program reopened late last year, I was excited to see that Main Street Chanute was still involved in the program,” said Scott Sewell, Kansas Main Street director. “The easy thing to do is to just toss in the towel and give up or, worse yet, think you are done working on downtown revitalization.

“Downtown reflects the character and heart of the entire community and following the Main Street approach isn’t a short-term project. It takes an on-going, coordinated effort by many in the community to maintain a healthy, viable downtown.”

Ruthann Boatwright, Executive Director of Main Street Chanute, agrees with Sewell.

“I believe the Main Street program is a benefit to our community and was thrilled to learn our local program has been designated as an Accredited Main Street America Program for 2020,” she said. “We continually look for ways to improve and promote our downtown. We invited interested building owners, business owners and local citizens to meet earlier this year in order to help determine short- and long-range goals and initiatives for the program. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 outbreak has delayed our planning, but earlier this week, we were again able to conduct a board meeting and pick up this project where we left off mid-March.” 

Shanna Guiot, president of the Main Street Chanute board of directors, is optimistic about working with the state and national programs.

“Main Street Chanute is in its 25th year, and it has persevered even without state leadership because the organization plays such an important role in the entire community,” Guiot said. “Earning this national accreditation shows just how vital it is to have such a program in Chanute.”

During the last year, Main Street Chanute’s Incentive Without Walls (IWW) program has loaned $56,000 at 0 percent interest to help downtown business owners with repairs, building purchases and operating expenses.

In all, the program has loaned out a total of $284,829.69 at no interest to help with the revitalization of downtown. With the matching of private funds, the total reinvestment in downtown because of the IWW program has been $1,843,739.12.


About Main Street Chanute and Main Street America

Main Street Chanute promotes the downtown area for advancement of business, historical preservation, beautification and events to bring commerce to our downtown businesses and create a pleasing destination to live, work, visit, shop and enjoy. MSC hosts the annual Artist Alley celebration on the last Saturday of September, which brings thousands of visitors to Chanute.

Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for 40 years. Today, it is a network of more than 1,600 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Since 1980, communities participating in the program have leveraged more than $85 billion in new public and private investment, generated 672,333 net new jobs and 150,079 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 295,348 buildings. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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