The kickoff MAIN EVENT for the Cape Charles Community Enhancement Initiative has created a buzz around the effort to continue the town’s forward momentum. The Mirror contacted Bay Haven Inn’s Tammy Holloway, as well as Nan Bennett and Councilman Andy Buchholz, all Ad Hoc Main Street Committee members for a Q&A session on just what Main Street means to Cape Charles.
What is the main focus/goal of the Cape Charles Community Enhancement Initiative?
The goal for a Cape Charles Community Enhancement Initiative is to employ the Main Street Approach in the development of the organizational stability and public-private partnerships necessary for successful administration of a downtown revitalization program. Commercial District Affiliate core services include: access to training by state and national downtown development experts; organizational structure development assistance; and eligibility for DHCD grants as available. Affiliates have the opportunity to learn about best practices in the field and to network with peers from around the state.
Typically, Commercial District Affiliates are incorporated municipalities, counties, or urban neighborhood commercial districts located within the Commonwealth of Virginia who utilize the Main Street Approach for downtown revitalization, but may not be ready to support a Main Street program.
Commercial District Affiliates should employ the Main Street Approach in their development of revitalization efforts for their downtown districts and will have access to VMS staff as time and resources allow.
“The reason for the name Community Enhancement initiative is primarily because you may not use the official name MAIN STREET Virginia until you have received that designation,” Andy Buchholtz, CC town council AD Hoc Main Street Committee said.
How will this help Cape Charles Business?
As we begin down this road and become an affiliate some of the resources of the program become immediately available to the Cape Charles community and in turn the Cape Charles businesses will have many opportunities to take advantage of at this affiliate level. The Four Point Approach, which are highlighted below. “All businesses are different and one of these areas might be what really helps them, for example if a storefront needs a makeover to help and attract more customers. We will have access to resources that have helped businesses tackle these challenges in unique places like Cape Charles, ” Tammy Holloway, B&B owner and Ad Hoc Committee member said.
Economic Vitality: This element of the Main Street Four Points concentrates on strengthening the district’s existing economic base while finding ways to expand its economy and introduce compatible new uses. This work is rooted in a commitment to making the most of a community’s unique sense of place and existing historic assets, harnessing local economic opportunity and creating a supportive business environment for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Promotion: This element of the Main Street Four Points deals with marketing the district’s assets to residents, visitors, investors and others through special events, retail promotion and activities that improve the way the district is perceived.
Design: This element of the Main Street Four Points focuses on improving the physical environment by renovating buildings, constructing compatible new buildings, improving signs and merchandise displays, creating attractive and usable public spaces and ensuring that planning and zoning regulations support Main Street revitalization.
Organization: A strong organizational foundation is crucial for a sustainable Main Street revitalization effort. This element of the Main Street Four Points focuses on building collaboration among a broad range of public and private sector groups, organizations and constituencies.
What other advantages does it offer?
Grant resources, consultants, design specialists, etc… if we are able to become an officially designated a MAIN STREET Virginia community we will be one of about 25, the only one on Virginia’s Eastern Shore and the only one with a beach. “The distinction of being a Main Street community moves Cape Charles to an elite list that will be featured and highlighted in vast variety of free marketing exposure,” Tammy Holloway said.
Explain a little about being a Main Street affiliate. ( explained some under #1)
I think of it as we walk before we run. The Affiliate stage of the process is getting all of our ducks in a row, like training for that marathon. (Wayne, check out page 29/30 of the link above it highlights well the different things you get at each level) I for see the Community Enhancement board and Executive Director to guide us through the process as an affiliate and will soon identify a timeline and some measureable goals.
How does someone get involved?
A few ways for you to get involved now:
1) Applications for the Community Enhancement Board are available. Click Here for the link to the application which is due MARCH 31st. For more information about the MAIN STREET VIRGINIA initiative visit the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development website.
2) Interested in volunteering on one of the committees as they are formed? Shoot an email to Libby Hume ( see below)
Questions about the application process, contact town clerk, Libby Hume at email@example.com or call 757-331-3259 ext 10
Follow Cape Charles Road to Main Street on FB at Cape Charles Community Enhancement Initiative