Posted by: wadahp | May 11, 2010

MAIN STREET "SAVE" EARNS NATIONAL AWARD

The National Trust for Historic Preservation recently honored the Washington State Main Street Coalition with a 2010 Main Street Leadership Award. This award, presented at the Main Street Awards Ceremony during the National Main Streets Conference in Oklahoma City, recognizes creative approaches to commercial district revitalization challenges.

Each year the National Trust Main Street Center recognizes individuals or organizations that have provided strong leadership, locally or nationally, in the following ways: 

  • Significant, lasting contributions made to commercial district revitalization;
  • Inspiring actions that can be duplicated in other communities;
  • Ability to serve as a national role model or spokesperson; and
  • Long-term contributions to a community’s revitalization over time.

The Washington State Main Street Coalition, a team of local revitalization program managers across the state, unified during the week between Christmas and New Year’s to act quickly and decisively to save the state Main Street program from a zeroed-out state budget. Local advocates’ strategic and swift efforts, including the creation of a network of 850 Facebook supporters, proved successful when the Main Street Bill passed the House in February and the Senate on March 2. Ellensburg Main Street Manager Timothy Bishop accepted the award on behalf of the coalition, which was recognized for its innovative and effective use of social media in its grassroots advocacy plan.

The coalition worked in partnership with The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, National Trust Trustee Mary Thompson and the National Trust Main Street Center to create a grassroots action plan for unifying 90 local programs in 85 communities, and mobilizing Main Street supporters and the general public to contact state legislators to get s bill introduced to save the program. The public support and media attention proved to be a winning combination as the House bill’s sponsor said on the floor that he has never received so many emails of support for a single piece of legislation.

“The National Trust Main Street Center is impressed by the quick behind-the-scenes organizing of the local Main Street programs in Washington State and their use of social media networks to instantly deliver calls to action and advocacy updates to hundreds of people,” said Doug Loescher, director of the National Trust Main Street Center. “The Washington State Main Street Coalition empowered a broad range of citizens through the legislative process and they were successful. They are outstanding models for their peers throughout the country, who are fighting similar funding crises.”

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