From the Main Street Director’s Desk
Development is a testament to caliber of volunteers, staff
by Rae Gosling | Grayling Main Street Executive Director
In 2015 Grayling Main Street (GMSt) completed its first full year as a Select Level Main Street community, welcomed a new director, hosted events in Downtown Grayling, ramped up design services for business and property owners, and created new partnerships with local economic development organizations and projects. In short, GMSt started to build momentum in 2015.
This week I will begin to speak to two elements that have become integral parts of the GMSt program that began in 2015 and blossomed in 2016. How they have developed is a true testament to the caliber of volunteers and staff the program has, as well as the value of strategic planning and positioning.
In communities where resources are limited there is a heavy emphasis on combined efforts to properly leverage available capital. Resources include volunteers, expertise, time, and financial support. While many factors contribute to these limitations there is one glaring solution to successfully overcoming the barrier: collaboration.
Creating a collective effort with groups like the Grayling Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Grayling Promotional Association allowed GMSt to grow relationships and find partnerships for more effective execution of events. Additionally, joining forces with the local municipality proved to also be an effective way to increase available resources and utilize them to yield better results, for both sides of the table.
Before 2015 ended, the director, Mrs. Danielle Stein-Seabolt, was asked to join the table with the Crawford County Economic Development Partnership (CCEDP). She was able to incorporate the development of Downtown Grayling into the conversation of economic development throughout the county. Additionally, the City of Grayling began engaging with the Talent and Economic Development (TED) Team, Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), and Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) as a participant in Project Rising Tide (PRT) and working toward certification as a Redevelopment Ready Community (RRC). Local stakeholders, including GMSt, were invited to discuss the community’s background, assets, needs, challenges, and potential.
The first quarter of 2016 was an exciting time not only for the GMSt organization but also the City of Grayling. In January the city received its Action Strategy for the PRT initiative, and Mrs. Seabolt was invited to be on the Steering Committee for the project going forward. This allowed GMSt to have a voice in, and be a recipient of, the coming technical services provided by the project.
Shortly after work began with PRT, Michigan Main Street Center announced GMSt would be the recipient of the Branding and Marketing Services for 2016. GMSt was also informed that due to the close relationship that the TED Team and Michigan Main Street have – both are housed by MEDC – that the City of Grayling could also receive some services from the Branding and Marketing consultant. This was a request that had been made by GMSt and the PRT Steering Committee. Collaboration at the state level and the local level resulted in increased service value for multiple elements of the community.
Want to know more about how GMSt was a part of Project Rising Tide, new fundraising ideas, and how they ended up with a third director (for real, I promise)? Check back in future editions of the Avalanche for more From the Main Street Director’s Desk. You can also check out our website, www.DowntownGrayling.com, find us on Facebook, or email your questions to DowntownGrayling@gmail.com.
Rae Gosling is the Grayling Main Street Executive Director. She has been with the program since April 2016. She is a Grayling resident, wife, mother, local shopper, avid supporter of all things Grayling, and keeps everyone on their toes wondering what color her eye shadow and hair will be next.