The Four-Point Approach helps to revitalize Oklahoma communities in 2018
The Oklahoma Main Street Center announced the winners in 21 competitive award categories during the 29th annual Main Street Awards Banquet, May 8th, at the Embassy Suites Downtown Medical Center Hotel.
“Awards night is always exciting for the Main Street communities throughout the state as well as for the Oklahoma Main Street Center,” said Buffy Hughes, director of the Oklahoma Main Street Center program. “It is a spirited competition that celebrates the positive and meaningful impact on each community through the dedicated people, original events, historic preservation, and financial investment. Cheers to the winners.”
The Main Street program encourages economic development in Oklahoma communities through historic preservation in ways appropriate to today’s marketplace.
By refocusing efforts to bring vibrancy back to a commercial district, communities can find the self-reliance and empowerment needed to rebuild a commercial district and increase the quality of life for residents.
Each award falls under one of the “Four Points” in the Main Street Approach. The Main Street Four-Point Approach™ is tailored to meet the needs and opportunities of each community. It encompasses work in four distinct areas – Design, Economic Vitality, Promotion, and Organization – that are combined to address all of the commercial district’s needs.
Organization – Main Street is a volunteer-driven program relying on the commitment of private citizens and civic leaders. Organizing your resources and efforts is a proven process helping to ensure economic revitalization.
Best Community Education/Public Awareness was awarded to Newkirk Main Street for their Good Luck Card Game. Good Luck Card Game was a collaborative project between the Newkirk Main Street Design committee, Newkirk Junior Main Street and the Newkirk Community Historical Society.
The objective was to highlight and teach adults and students alike about the historic buildings of downtown Newkirk. The Historical Society gave Main Street access to their historic photographs of Newkirk’s commercial buildings in the National Register historic district.
The Junior Main Street students photographed the buildings as they are today. Caryl Morgan, graphic designer and design committee chairman, created the design for the back of the cards using the Charlie Adams logo. The card game follows the general outline of Old Maid only in “Good Luck” the players are matching the historic photos of the buildings with the current. The first 25 decks sold out almost immediately, and new decks had to be ordered. This was a wonderful multi-generational and collaborative project.
Promotion – creating a positive image that will renew community pride while communicating the district’s unique characteristics, its cultural traditions, architecture, and history and activities to shoppers, investors, potential business owners and visitors.
The award for Creative New Event went to Ardmore Main Street’s Farm to Table Dinner. It was the “brainchild” of a group of loyal customers and healthy living advocates who support the Downtown Farmers Market and understand the positive impact it can have in the community. The idea of the event grew naturally from their desire to promote farm fresh fruits and vegetables sold at market to a wider, influential audience by using the same products sold at the market as the ingredients for an exclusive gourmet dinner.
All 60 of the $85-a-plate tickets sold within a few days. The dinner was held outdoors on the grounds of the Stables at Washita Farms event venue and was supported by a wide variety of sponsors and in-kind participants. Volunteers included farmers who introduced the various courses served and fresh market products used, Main Street board members and friends of Main Street for a total of 15 volunteers.
Design – the appearance of Main Street districts sets a vital first impression for each community by adding an inviting atmosphere through attractive window displays, parking areas, building improvements, signs, sidewalks, landscaping and more.
The award for Best Façade Rehabilitation Under $10,000 went to McAlester Main Street’s Common Roots restoration.
The owners’ goal was to restore the historic elements of this downtown McAlester building. After removing the existing awning, a set of beautiful, textured windows were found but were hidden under layers of paint. After more than 150 hours of scraping, the functional use of the windows has been restored. All the windows were then sealed water tight and the exterior received a fresh coat of paint. A new hand-painted sign added to the stunning makeover.
The total cost of this rehabilitation project was an amazing $700 with the owners performing most of the work themselves. The ability to dramatically restore and improve a space downtown, while retaining its history, charm and character, for under $1,000 gives hope to potential building owners and other historic preservationists across the state.
Economic Vitality – highlights each community’s existing assets while diversifying its economic base, retaining and expanding successful businesses to provide a balanced commercial mix and helps attract new businesses.
Kendall Whittier’s Fair Fellow Coffee took home the award for Best New Business. Fair Fellow Coffee opened in March 2016 to great fanfare. Customers flocked to Fair Fellow for their coffee beans, roasted on-site, and espresso drinks featuring local Lomah Dairy products. Because Fair Fellow Coffee is such a destination draw, the flow of foot-traffic through the neighborhood has benefited neighboring Kendall Whittier merchants.
Many of these customers are a young, urban, creative demographic that had never set foot in Kendall Whittier before. An entirely new audience that was unfamiliar with Kendall Whittier now frequents the district. And of course, having delicious coffee and a comfortable gathering spot within walking distance has been a huge boost to the employees of companies located in Whittier Square.