ROGERSVILLE - Rogersville's new status as a certified member of the Tennessee Main Street Program will open the city up to new opportunities for grant funding to make improvements to the historic sections of the city.
Rogersville Chamber of Commerce Director Nancy Barker informed the Rogersville Board of Mayor and Aldermen during Tuesday's meeting that the city is now one of 21 Tennessee communities certified through the program.
The Main Street Program helps communities preserve the physical appeal of their downtown districts, which has been identified as an essential component of economic growth.
The Main Street Program is part of the Community Development Division of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. It provides communities with technical assistance and guidance in developing long-term strategies that promote economic growth and development.
The program also provides information and assistance in forging public networking and training opportunities for downtown commercial districts.
"We already have a board in place, and they've already had two meetings - getting input from the community on some of the projects we're going to tackle through the Main Street Program," Barker told the BMA. "We have one grant (application) we will turn in Thursday and another $10,000 grant we'll be applying for this project by the 15th of this month. We had also talked about changing the red light on Main Street, and we can officially apply for the energy grant to do that now."
Tennessee has participated in the Main Street Program since 1983. The program requires communities to meet several requirements before becoming certified including broad-based community support for the program, a comprehensive work plan, a sufficient operating budget, and adequate staff and volunteer support.
It also qualifies the community to participate in state-funded grant programs to improve their downtown revitalization efforts.
Main Street revitalization is a comprehensive, incremental, self-help economic strategy that also focuses on developing public-private partnerships to enhance community livability and job creation, while maintaining the historic character of downtown districts.
"I applaud the leaders of Rogersville for recognizing the importance of downtown revitalization and for utilizing this program to attract new industries and grow jobs," said Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matthew Kisber.