Winchester certified as ‘Main Street community’
The City of Winchester continues to grow and achieve milestones in development, and, following in line with that effort is another distinction being added to the list of accomplishments.
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development announced this week that Winchester has achieved Tennessee Main Street certification.
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development announced recently that Winchester has achieved Tennessee Main Street certification. Sharing in a moment to commemorate the honors are, from left, Bill Cowan, downtown volunteer; Jerry Sharber, director of Main Street Community; Margaret Lynch, co-chair; Kathy Bennett, Bennetts Photography; DeAnn Weller, Winchester Music Arts; and Kennedy Bennett and Joy Gallagher, Winchester historians.
The town of Brownsville, located in Haywood County, Tenn., was also certified.
Winchester and Brownsville join 26 other Tennessee Main Street communities that are certified through the state program and accredited by the National Main Street Center, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Main Street Community designations are based upon successful applications submitted by the cities.
The Tennessee Main Street Program application requires communities to illustrate a strong commitment to a Main Street Program from city/county government, an adequate organizational budget, a commitment to hire staff, a strong historic preservation ethic, a collection of historic buildings and a walkable, historic commercial district.
Tennessee Main Street provides technical assistance and guidance for communities in developing common sense solutions to make downtowns safe, appealing, vibrant places where folks want to shop, live and make memories.
The benefits to establishing a designated Main Street program start at the national level through affiliation with the National Main Street Center.
Beth Rhoton, Winchester City Administrator, is thrilled with the honor.
“The City of Winchester is excited that we will be one of few Cities in Tennessee that meet the standards to carry this designation,” she said recently.
Rhoton explained that this respected, proven, nationwide program provides resources, training and technical assistance through coordinating statewide programs.
The National Main Street Conference is an annual event that offers additional educational and networking opportunities focusing on downtown development.
“Designated Tennessee Main Street programs receive on-site technical assistance, participate in quarterly training meetings and have access to online training, grant opportunities and special programs such as the Great American Main Street awards,” Rhoton said. “Communities benefit from a structured approach with professional management and annual reporting, so progress can be monitored, communicated and celebrated.”
Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty offered his congratulations and welcomed Winchester and Brownsville to the Main Street community.
“Our Main Street program continues to expand, adding new communities to a robust network of unique historical districts that set our state apart,” Hagerty said.
He went on to explain that cultural centers such as Winchester and Brownsville are vital to preserving and celebrating our state’s identity and also serve to promote new economic growth from within, as well as outside investments.
Tennessee Main Street Director Nancy Williams provided her assessment in a published statement.
“Both Winchester and Brownsville have been actively working on their downtowns in recent years and they are ready for the next step, which is formal acceptance into the Tennessee Main Street program and national accreditation as Main Street communities,” she said. “They are highly motivated and organized, and we look forward to working with them as the newest members of our program.”
In 2013, certified Main Street communities generated more than $59 million of public/private investment and created 646 new jobs.
There are 28 certified Main Street program communities across Tennessee: Bristol, Brownsville, Cleveland, Collierville, Columbia, Cookeville, Dandridge, Dayton, Dyersburg, Fayetteville, Franklin, Gallatin, Greeneville, Jackson, Jonesborough, Lebanon, Kingsport, Lawrenceburg, McMinnville, Murfreesboro, Morristown, Ripley, Rogersville, Sweetwater, Tiptonville, Savannah, Union City and Winchester.
Tennessee Main Street operates under the National Main Street Center, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
For more information visit www.tennesseemainstreet.org.
For more on the National Main Street Center, visit www.mainstreet.org.