City Council was presented with a portrait of downtown Saline and learned about upcoming Main Street events and activites at Monday's meeting.
Brittney Hoszkiw, organizational specialist for the Michigan Main Street Center, presented a report from the baseline assessment conducted April 24-25 by officials from the National Trust Main Street Center and Michigan Main Street.
Hoszkiw went over general observations and opportunities and recommendations for Saline Main Street, a new organization dedicated to the revitalization of downtown Saline. Leaders of Saline Main Street’s four member communities also updated council on their progress and future plans.
Hoszkiw told city council Saline became a model for communities seeking to join Michigan Main Street when 60 people went to Lansing to make the case for Saline’s membership.
“You are legends in the Main Street world. The momentum you had coming into this is something you rarely see,” Hoszkiw said.
The baseline study touched on the strengths of the community before narrowing in on downtown.
“Saline is a wonderful, involved community with many strong organizations and great examples of public-private partnerships” Hoszkiw said.
She also noted that the reputation of the school district continues to attract families to Saline.
Downtown Saline Has Great Bones
One of downtown Saline’s greatest strengths is the historic architecture and downtown infrastructure.
“Downtown Saline has great bones. We can’t recreate history. You have to have that,” she said.
The report says Saline’s architecture promotes Saline’s historic fabric and fosters a quaint sense of place.
Another strength in downtown Saline is a strong and active business community. Hoszkiw said it was positive to see successful retailers alongside the service-oriented businesses downtown.
The report noted that the 30,000 vehicles a day on U.S. 12 are considered a blessing and challenge by local stakeholders.
Hoszkiw said Saline Main Street should work to build on downtown’s position as a center of activity for the city and surrounding townships and as a destination for dining and unique shopping experiences. The Saline Main Street program has the opportunity to become a resource for information and marketing, developing volunteer resources, provide business support and strategic planning for the downtown region, according to the report.
She noted that the Saline lacks a business recruitment strategy and that Main Street can help in this area.
Hoszkiw recommended that new Main Street manager Bob Rosenberger integrate himself with downtown community so that he becomes seen as a valuable resource to downtown stakeholders.
Following Hoszkiw’s presentation, leaders of the four Main Street committees addressed council.
Hoedown, Walking Tour Planned
Jill Durnen, of the promotions committee, said Saline does like to party. She said the committee had a successful Oktoberfest and is now working on plans for Winterfest and the Music Under the Arch series. Future events include a barn dance/hoedown for downtown and a walking tour of downtown’s historic buildings and homes.
Funding Sought for Market Analysis Study
Dorothea Megow-Dowling said the business economic success team was working to strengthen the economic base of downtown by collecting and interpreting data. She said the team has identified four projects, which include updating the business inventory, creating a business survey and communication strategy. She said the committee was looking for funding for a comprehensive market analysis study.
The results of such a study can help Saline figure out what kinds of businesses should be recruited.
Fundraising Leaves Main Street on Solid Ground
Karen Ragland said the organization team concerns itself with building a strong volunteer base and fundraising. She said recent events have helped put Saline Main Street in a solid financial position. $4,000 has been raised for the Music Under the Arch series, $3,000 has been raised for downtown flower pots. She said Main Street has collected $12,000 in donations and $23,000 from the city’s Economic Development Corporation. Right now, there’s $20,000 in the bank and Main Street is spending $5,000 monthly in payroll and overhead.
Architectural Treasure Hunt, Taste of Saline Planned
Rebecca Schneider said it was the design team’s goal to beautify downtown and promote education about the advantages of historic preservation. Schneider said there were plans for an architectural treasurer hunt, an event designed to get people “looking around to appreciate the things they already have” in downtown Saline. Schneider said the committee is also working with promotions on a “Taste of Saline” event. In January, the group will host a “building basics” event to provide more information to business and property owners about the benefits of historic preservation.
The design team is also working to replace the “trash bunkers” downtown and on acquiring a kiosk to replace the sandwich boards in front of Key Bank.
For more information, visit www.salinemainstreet.org.