The city of Eaton Rapids has been selected by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) to take part in the select level of the Michigan Main Street program, joining 23 other communities already benefiting from a five-year state commitment in the Main Street program. Among them Charlotte, downtown Lansing, Old Town Lansing and Portland.
The Michigan Main Street Program helps support and improve Michigan’s traditional downtowns and traditional commercial neighborhood districts using a four-point system including design, economic vitality, promotion and organization.
When a community partakes in the program, it sees new business growth, jobs, increased investment in its downtown and more.
The program has garnered attention and gained momentum as it provides assistance for communities that want to develop their own local Main Street program by using what Michigan Main Street calls the “Main Street Approach.” This approach confronts revitalization issues by capitalizing on a downtown’s history and pinpoints the unique assets of the community as a whole.
Currently, there are 31 communities participating in the Michigan Main Street at engaged, select and master levels. The different levels provide services based on a community’s commitment, from one to five years in the program.
Eaton Rapids has a historic downtown, just steps from the popular Island Park and several water recreation opportunities along with a diverse downtown district that is prime for growth.
“Developing downtowns is essential in building a tax base, raising property values and putting people to work,” MEDC CEO Jeff Masonsaid. “Programs like Michigan Main Street provide downtown communities with the tools needed to create jobs, provide desirable places to live and build a sense of place for Michigan residents.”
Since the program began in 2003, Michigan Main Street has stimulated job growth, private investment and community engagement. In fact, Michigan Main Street communities have generated more than $28 million in private investment, 116 new businesses and 92 façade improvements, according to the MEDC.
“I’m excited to see how these two communities will grow within the next five years,” said Mason. “With the support of the Main Street program and the MEDC, I believe we can positively transform the downtowns and commercial districts in communities to ensure their place on Michigan’s path toward our future.”
For information, visit miplace.org/communities/mms/.