Cartersville Downtown Development Authority & Main Street Program has been designated as an accredited National Main Street Program for meeting the commercial district revitalization performance standards set by the National Main Street Center®, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Each year, the National Main Street Center and its partners announce the list of accredited Main Street® programs in recognition of their exemplary commitment to historic preservation and community revitalization through the Main Street Four Point Approach.
“We congratulate this year’s nationally accredited Main Street programs for their outstanding accomplishment in meeting the National Main Street Center’s performance standards,” says Patrice Frey, President & CEO of the National Main Street Center. “Accredited Main Street programs create vibrant communities by using a comprehensive strategy to preserve their historic character and revitalize their commercial districts, which helps make these great places to work, live, play and visit.”
The organization’s performance is annually evaluated by Georgia Main Street Program, housed within the Office of Downtown Development at Georgia Department of Community Affairs, which works in partnership with the National Main Street Center to identify the local programs that meet ten performance standards. These standards set the benchmarks for measuring an individual Main Street program’s application of the Main Street Four Point Approach to commercial district revitalization. Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, securing an operating budget, tracking programmatic progress and actively preserving historic buildings.
In the past year, downtown Cartersville has welcomed 14 new businesses, which include a restaurant, retail shops, an event facility, and variety of needed services. These businesses have brought with them approximately 150 jobs. Working closely with the Main Street Design Committee, property owners were contacted over the past year to get support for a Business Improvement District (B.I.D.) budget amendment. The required percentage of property owners was obtained and City Council approved the budget amendment in June 2014. The amended budget will allow B.I.D. funds to be spent on more downtown improvements and promotion including, though not limited to, public access WiFi, a covered pavilion in Friendship Plaza, and more advertising for downtown businesses. Of course, the most popular and oft-used aspect of the B.I.D. funds are the grants awarded through the DDA. During the 2013-2014 fiscal year, just over $7,500 was awarded to downtown business and property owners who enhanced downtown by investing in signage, new awnings, paint, and other exterior improvements.
“It has been an exciting year in downtown Cartersville,” said DDA/Main Street Manager Tara Currier. “A lot of work went into the B.I.D. budget amendment, and I hope people in the community begin to see some positive changes and additions to downtown within the next several months. Of course, one of the other big accomplishments recently, was the completion of Downtown’s Master Plan. Many of the priority recommendations outlined in the plan, which were received through community input, town hall meetings, and stakeholder interviews, have already been completed or are in progress. We were honored to have received an award for Best Community Planning Initiative from the Georgia Main Street Program back in March of this year, and look forward to continued implementation of the projects and initiatives outlined in that plan.”