KINGSPORT — Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matthew Kisber announced that the Downtown Kingsport Association has achieved certification through the Tennessee Main Street Program.
“I applaud the Downtown Kingsport Association on recognizing the importance of downtown revitalization and the new industries and jobs it can bring as a result,” Kisber said. “Kingsport is joining the ranks of many great cities and towns across the state dedicated to preserving the businesses and neighborhoods at the heart of their communities.”
The Tennessee Main Street Program is a comprehensive revitalization program designed to promote the historic and economic redevelopment of traditional business districts in Tennessee. The Tennessee Main Street Program serves as a coordinating partner with the National Main Street Center, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Valecia Crisafulli, director of preservation leadership at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, joined the communities at the certification ceremony held during the 2009 Governor’s Conference on Economic and Community Development. Crisafulli, a Tennessee native, will return to Nashville Oct. 13-17 for the National Preservation Conference, when community leaders from across the nation will come together to gain a fresh perspective on preservation’s role in sustainability and the new economy.
There are currently 23 Main Street organizations in Tennessee, joining more than 2,000 communities nationwide that have been accredited by the National Main Street Center.
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD) provides these communities with technical assistance and expertise in developing long-term strategies that promote economic growth and development, focusing on revitalization through the context of historic preservation. The department also helps communities forge public networking and training opportunities for their downtown commercial districts.
“On behalf of ECD, it is my pleasure to celebrate with the Downtown Kingsport Association on this significant accomplishment,” said ECD Assistant Commissioner of Community Development Rick Meredith. “This demonstration of the Downtown Kingsport Association’s commitment to economic development and historic preservation is indicative of successes to come. We are proud of the work they have put into becoming a member of the Tennessee Main Street Program.”
Tennessee communities have participated in the Main Street Program since 1983. Communities are certified by the Tennessee Main Street Program through an application process and must meet accreditation standards set by the National Main Street Center, including broad-based community support for the program, a comprehensive work plan, a sufficient operating budget, and adequate staff and volunteers to support the program.