From the Main Street Director’s Desk
Community continues to work toward national accreditation
by Rae Gosling | Grayling Main Street Executive Director
As Grayling Main Street (GMSt) transitioned into the new director, and new Volunteer In Service To America (VISTA), the momentum of the community was building. The partnership between GMSt and Project Rising Tide (PRT) grew stronger every day, creating opportunities for information gathering, and resources for building a strategy for growth.
In September of 2016 the PRT steering committee coordinated and hosted a two-part public engagement session at the new Kirtland campus in Grayling. The purpose of the event was to garner information from the community regarding what they felt our assets were, what our deficiencies were, and how they thought we could improve upon the situation in Grayling. One of the driving forces of GMSt is community collaboration and building. By working with PRT on this project we were able to identify some priority areas in our community to begin addressing. The information garnered from these engagement sessions was used as a starting point for the development of a community wide work plan, designed to provide economic growth in Grayling. The prioritized issues were reviewed, with the guidance of Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) specialist and technical assistance consultants and broken down into 10 major focuses. These projects were presented to the community, and volunteers were asked to join the efforts in actualizing the change.
Also in September of 2016, GMSt had their second annual review with the Michigan Main Street Center (MMS) and National Main Street Center (NMSC). As I have previously discussed in this column, there are 10 criteria a community must be achieving in order to apply for and be considered a Nationally Accredited Main Street Community. While communities are Select Level participants the progress of the 10 criteria are reviewed annually.
The 10 criteria are designed to keep Main Street organization from becoming stagnate and ineffective. The 10 criteria are as follows:
1) Broad based community support including both public and private sector participation.
2) Established a mission and vision statement that is relevant to the community.
3) Established a comprehensive Main Street work plan.
4) Developed an historic preservation ethic.
5) Have an active board and committees.
6) Have an adequate and balanced operating budget.
7) Have a paid professional program director.
8) Programming for ongoing training of staff and volunteers.
9) Report identified data and statistics.
10) Maintain membership with Main Street America Network.
Following the review with MMS and NMSC, Grayling was advised we were not eligible for accreditation at that time, but that the progress of our community since the previous review was promising. Following the review, members from MMS and NMSC returned to Grayling and hosted a training and workshop session with the GMSt Board. The training encouraged staff and volunteers to use the services we had been awarded, and the resources provided through PRT to achieve some of the criteria. At the conclusion of the training workshop GMSt was armed with tools to continue on the upward trajectory. They were also empowered by the confidence of MMS and NMSC that we will be accredited before our Select Level deadline arrives.
Want to know more about GMSt’s project form the input sessions, and another new event in Downtown Grayling? 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.