Six historic downtowns win revitalization grants from Main Street America partnership

On May 16, 2018, the Made on Main Street partnership program between OneMain Financial and Main Street America announced six cities from across the nation that will each receive a $25,000 grant to help revitalize their communities.

The program provides community action grants for innovative beautification projects. The six winning cities are Mesa, Arizona; Brunswick, Georgia; Charlotte, Michigan; Painesville, Ohio; The Dalles, Oregon; and Prosser, Washington.

These cities join Goldsboro, North Carolina, which was awarded the first grant back in March, for a downtown revitalization project that is currently underway.

We are deeply committed to the communities we serve, and it’s an honor to help local citizens revitalize their downtown areas,” said Jay Levine, President & CEO of OneMain Financial. “Celebrating these transformational projects alongside neighbors and friends is a key element of these projects. Our local branches offer community members assistance in improving their financial health, and “Made on Main Street” is an extension of our positive footprint to help make meaningful changes. Together, we hope to build stronger communities by improving the places where we live and work.

Made on Main Street organizers encouraged local changemakers to submit proposals for innovative ideas that would enhance their community. The winners were selected by Main Street America, a program of the National Main Street Center, whose mission is to build vibrant neighborhoods and thriving local economies.

The winning organizations are RAILmesa (Arizona); Main Street Brunswick (Georgia); Charlotte Rising (Michigan); Downtown Painesville (Ohio); The Dalles Main Street (Oregon); and Historic Downtown Prosser Association (Washington).

We received nearly 60 applications, and it was exciting to see the level of creativity, and thoughtfulness that went into the proposals for each project,” said Patrice Frey, National Main Street Center’s President & CEO. “While it was difficult to select only six communities, our decisions were based on the ability of local leaders to roll up their sleeves and engage with community members to create long-term economic improvement through a small, creative revitalization project.

The winners’ proposals outlined how they will invest the money:

  • RAILmesa in Mesa, Arizona, will help expand access to their all-volunteer community maker space, Heartsync Labs, by holding community classes, upgrading the physical space, and purchasing new tools;
  • Main Street Brunswick in Brunswick, Georgia, plans to improve streetscapes by installing aesthetically pleasing planters, new trash receptacles, and bike racks for their bicycle-enthusiast community;
  • Charlotte Rising in Charlotte, Michigan, outlined a proposal to transform a vacant lot into a pocket park that will host events and public programs including outdoor classes, yoga, open mic nights, and more;
  • The Ohio-based organization Downtown Painesville, will create and manage a landscaped public space, with designated seating in and around their community’s beloved historic Gage House, thereby creating the only park and seating area in that part of the downtown district;
  • The Dalles Main Street in The Dalles, Oregon, will improve their downtown aesthetics by restoring historic neon signs, partnering with local businesses to display them, and creating a walking tour app to connect the various sites; and
  • In Prosser, Washington, the Historic Downtown Prosser Association will work with a variety of local partners, and a large group of volunteers, and lead a two-day downtown beautification blitz, replacing non-functioning elements with new banner poles, planters, and trash receptacles.

Made on Main Street organizers will work with winning organizations to host a community celebration event in each community. The events, hosted by OneMain Financial, will take place this summer and fall, and will include free, family-friendly activities, food, and fun.

The National Main Street Center has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for more than 35 years. Today, its Main Street America network of more than 1,600 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. The organization is a non-profit subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Featured photo shows downtown Prosser, Washington in 1930.

See National Main Street Center website.

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