Chicago – The National Main Street Center, Inc. (NMSC) and Project for Public Spaces (PPS) are launching Cultivating Place in Main Street Communities, a series of intensive trainings designed to strengthen and expand Main Street’s capacity for implementing Placemaking strategies and public space improvements.
Between January and June 2016, NMSC and PPS will bring the Cultivating Place in Main Street Communities training program to five pilot states, including Alabama, Connecticut, Missouri, Montana, and Oregon. NMSC and PPS will partner with Main Street Alabama, Connecticut Main Street Center, Missouri Main Street Connection, Montana Main Street, and Oregon Main Street to convene 35 communities in each state—with the potential to reach up to 175 communities in this first round.
Additionally, local and regional representatives of federal agencies and philanthropic foundations will be in attendance, working with trainers and trainees to identify ways to successfully grow, implement, and sustain Placemaking efforts in these states after the training.
“As a citizen-led process, Placemaking is a powerful, affordable, and effective way to activate downtowns and community gathering places,” said Patrice Frey, president and CEO of the National Main Street Center, Inc. “The community engagement and momentum generated by Placemaking is essential in generating longer-term positive economic outcomes across America’s Main Streets.”
“The community is always the expert,” said Fred Kent, president and Founder of Project for Public Spaces. “These trainings offer simple ways to take better advantage of the talents, resources, and assets that already exist in these places.”
Cultivating Place in Main Street Communities is the latest program launched as a result of NMSC and PPS’s ongoing partnership, created to help Main Street communities activate their downtowns and districts through Placemaking. Placemaking provides a powerful set of tools for change that Main Street organizations can easily learn and apply to their revitalization work. Through a strategy called “Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper,” individuals and communities can make immediate and affordable changes to public spaces while also building local support and demonstrating to stakeholders the potential for further long-term projects and investments.
The Cultivating Place in Main Street Communities training program is made possible through the generous support of Anne T. and Robert M. Bass.
About the National Main Street Center
The National Main Street Center, Inc. (NMSC) is a membership-based nonprofit organization dedicated to helping communities across the country revitalize their historic downtowns and business districts, and create vibrant, people-centered places to live, work, and play. With the majority of its programs in rural areas, the NMSC network has generated over $60 billion in new investment since its founding in 1980, largely through low cost investments and technical assistance provided through State Main Street programs. More information can be found at www.mainstreet.org.
About the Project for Public Spaces
Project for Public Spaces (PPS) is a nonprofit planning, design, and educational organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities. Our Placemaking approach helps citizens transform their public spaces into vital places that highlight local assets, spur rejuvenation, and address the specific needs of a community. Founded in 1975, PPS has since completed projects in more than 3000 communities in 43 countries and all 50 U.S. states, and today the organization is the premier center for best practices, information, and resources on Placemaking.
PPS’s ongoing work with federal agencies shows how modest levels of support can make a dramatic difference in gaining community consensus and building momentum for change. A decade ago, with support from the Ford and Kellogg Foundations, we demonstrated how small grants to farmers markets can benefit both rural and urban communities. That program became a model for AMS’s Farmers Market Promotion Program, now a $13 million dollar per year initiative. Through current programs and partnerships such as Citizens Institute for Rural Design (with NEA), Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities (with EPA), and the Rural Livability Resource Center (with FHWA), PPS offers numerous workshops and resources to help rural communities find innovative solutions for generating place capital and local economic vitality.