City seeks Main Street status
Jacksboro is looking to become a Main Street Community.
Main Street America is an organization created 35 years ago to revitalize historic downtowns. Texas has had a statewide program since then operating under the Texas Historical Commission.
Jacksboro Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Leslie Chalmers spoke to the Jacksboro City Council at its regular meeting last week about Jacksboro applying to become a Main Street Community.
According to Chalmers, being selected as a Main Street Community will provide benefits like eligibility for more grants, networking opportunities and architectural services.
City Manager Mike Smith said the emphasis will be on Jacksboro’s Central Business District which is the downtown square and about a block in each direction.
If selected, there will be a 3-year commitment of a full-time employee to manage the program. Smith said two local non-profits have committed to help pay the employee and the city could help with money it has designated for its part-time tourism position.
“I think it’s about hiring the right person and showing results in a short amount of time,” Smith said.
Chalmers said being selected as a Main Street Community is an honor, as only a maximum of five are selected each year. She added five applied last year and only two were chosen.
She also gave examples of the nearby cities of Graham and Bridgeport as having benefited from the Main Street program.
According to Graham’s Muriel Stephens, downtown property owner and member of Graham’s inaugural Main Street Board, the city became a Main Street City in 1993 or 1994.
She said the success of Main Street depends largely on the Main Street coordinator hired to manage the program and the downtown property owners.
“It just encourages people in your community, number one. Once they hear we’re a Main Street town everybody wants to get behind it,” Stephens said. “The second thing was low-interest loans. When you’re a Main Street Community, you’ve worked out a deal for building owners for renovations on their buildings."
To read the complete article, see the July 31 edition of the Herald-Gazette.