Michigan Main Street Program Provides Economic Boost for Participating Communities

New research shows Michigan Main Street Communities Outperformed National Average 2-to-1 in New Business Openings

May 19, 2014, 12:27 ET from Michigan State Housing Development Authority

DETROIT, May 19, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The economic benefits of the Michigan Main Street Center were unveiled during the National Main Streets Conference, the country's leading downtown revitalization conference in Detroit today.

Speaker Donovan Rypkema of PlaceEconomics, a Washington D.C.-based real estate and economic development consulting firm, shared the positive news with an engaged crowd of about 1,300 city planners, community revitalization professionals and volunteers participating in the conference at the GM Renaissance Center. The event, co-hosted by the National Main Street Center and the Michigan Main Street Center at the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, started Sunday and runs through Tuesday.

"In the past decade, Michigan has seen the ups and downs of the national and state economy," Rypkema said. "Through it all, its historic downtowns -- with the support of the Main Street program -- have persevered and prospered.

"The words Main Street may evoke images of warm summer nights at a downtown festival, but they also should signify real return on investment and renewed community commitment."

The report combined analysis of 10 years of quantitative data with onsite, qualitative research and showcased compelling stores of the comprehensive impact of the state's Main Street program. Among the findings, Michigan Main Street communities have outperformed other communities in the state during the most recent economic downturn.

That news didn't come as a surprise to Patrice Frey, president and CEO of the National Main Street Center.

"This research only reinforces what communities throughout Michigan have known for years: Main Street works," Frey said. "Even during our nation's greatest recession, Michigan Main Street districts saw twice as many new businesses open than the national average. That speaks to the power of the Main Street approach, which is focused on energizing downtowns by building on what makes them unique."

"The study shows the Michigan Main Street program is accomplishing its mission of helping communities use their historic downtowns and neighborhoods as an effective vehicle for economic development," Gov. Rick Snyder said. "These are the types of activities we need to encourage to keep the momentum moving forward in Michigan."

Communities that were part of the study included: Blissfield, Boyne City, Calumet, Clare, Grand Haven, Hart, Howell, Iron Mountain, Ishpeming, Manistee, Marshall, Midland, Muskegon, Niles, Old Town Lansing, Otsego, Owosso, Portland, Saline, Scottville and Wayland.

"Michigan has never had a study of this magnitude to help us understand the true impact of the Main Street program and preservation-based economic development," MSHDA Executive Director Scott Woosley said. "It's an indicator that thriving downtowns don't just happen. They occur when there is a shared vision and a sense of identity that communities large and small work together to revive their downtowns."

Rypkema's analysis of the economic impact of the Michigan Main Street program includes several key findings:

  • Since the beginning of the program, for every $1 invested in the Michigan Main Street Center, the Michigan districts have seen downtown building investment of $67
  • For every $1 invested in the Michigan Main Street Center, localities provided $16 in public improvement investments
  • Since the beginning of the program in 2003, 250 net new businesses have been established and over 1,300 net new jobs have been created in Main Street districts
  • Throughout the most recent recession, Michigan Main Street districts outperformed the national average with more than twice as many businesses opened than closed
  • In the last 10 years, over 250 buildings have been purchased in Main Street districts
  • Rehabilitation and façade projects in Main Street districts have generated an average of 214 Michigan jobs and over $9 million in paychecks every year since the program began
  • Just the improvements to Main Street district buildings have meant an increase in local property tax revenue of in excess of $3 million this year
  • Volunteers play a critical role in Main Street organizations. Cumulatively, the value of the hours of Michigan Main Street volunteers totals nearly $8 million

To learn about the economic impact study, go to: www.michiganmainstreetcenter.org.

MSHDA's Michigan Main Street program assists communities with historic commercial district revitalization. Main Street is a trademarked and copyrighted program of the National Main Street Center, Inc. MSHDA holds the contractual license to manager the program in Michigan. Since 2003 Michigan Main Street has provided technical assistance and support to participating Michigan communities. Currently there are 21 participating Main Street commercial districts in the state.

The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) is financed in part by a grant from the National Park Service, Department of Interior. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of the Interior. The Department of the Interior prohibits discrimination on its federally funded assistance programs.  If you believe you've been discriminated against please contact the Office of Equal Opportunity, National Park Service, 1849 C. St. NW, Washington DC 20240.

The State Historic Preservation Office is part of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), which provides financial and technical assistance through public and private partnerships to create and preserve decent, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents and to engage in community economic development activities to revitalize urban and rural communities.

MSHDA's loans and operating expenses are financed through the sale of tax-exempt and taxable bonds as well as notes to private investors, not from state tax revenues. Proceeds are loaned at below-market interest rates to developers of rental housing, and help fund mortgages and home improvement loans. MSHDA also administers several federal housing programs. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/mshda.

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SOURCE Michigan State Housing Development Authority