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Waverly one of five chosen by Heritage Ohio for Downtown Assessment Initiative

Chillicothe Gazette

COLUMBUS - Heritage Ohio, the state-wide coordinating agency under Main Street America, announced that five historic Ohio communities have been chosen through a competitive process to participate in the Downtown Assessment Resource Team (DART) program, the first step in becoming an Ohio Main Street community.

The communities that will go through the DART process are Canton, Girard, Niles, Urbana, and Waverly. A DART is a two-day, deep dive workshop in a community, when Heritage Ohio staff conducts site visits, community visioning and input modeling, walking tours, and interviews with key community stakeholders to determine if there is capacity and local support for a full Main Street program.

The Main Street approach, created in the late 1980s as a model for downtown revitalization, preservation, and economic development, is a nationally respected framework that is followed by over 2,000 communities that value their history and local economy. In Ohio, 52 historic communities are currently part of the Main Street program.

“Heritage Ohio firmly believes in the Main Street approach and its ability to help communities grow and transform their downtown,” shared Matt Wiederhold, Heritage Ohio executive director in a news release. “Main Street programs are economic development engines that drive investment in underutilized commercial and mixed-use properties, and boost tourism. All of those initiatives generate important tax revenue for villages and cities. We’ve administered the Ohio Main Street Program since 1998, and we’re thrilled to work with these five great communities.”

Communities benefit from the Ohio Main Street Program and Main Street America by receiving ongoing technical assistance and training for staff and volunteers such as preservation planning, strategic planning and board development, special event and fundraising planning, small business support, and more. OMSP communities also have the opportunity to participate in the Heritage Ohio Annual Conference, the national Main Street conference, special funding opportunities, ongoing support from Heritage Ohio staff, and much more.