Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson unveiled a new three-tiered program that would prepare more communities for entry into Main Street Oakland County and the economic benefits of utilizing the nationally-recognized program.
Patterson said select level Main Street communities have generated more than $650 million in public and private investment since 2001 and created more than 6,600 jobs and more than new 870 businesses. He made his comments during a press conference in downtown Farmington.
“Nineteen downtowns are in the Main Street program,” Patterson said. “My goal is to bring many more communities into the fold as soon as possible. I want all the downtowns to enjoy the benefits we see now in Ferndale, Holly, Oxford and all the Main Street communities.”
Patterson also recognized and congratulated the 10 communities that received accreditation from the National Main Street Center in Chicago. The accreditation means the communities scored a perfect 10 out of 10 on their annual evaluation.
Clawson, Farmington, Ferndale, Franklin, Highland, Holly, Lake Orion, Ortonville, Pontiac and Rochester – all select level communities – received perfect scores. Seven of the communities – Rochester and Ferndale (nine years), Lake Orion and Ortonville (eight years), Farmington (seven years) and Holly and Highland (five years) were each given special recognition for receiving perfect scores for at least five years.
“Congratulations to the 10 communities who have been accredited by the National Main Street Center and especially to the leadership of those communities for having the foresight to see the benefits of membership in Main Street Oakland County,” Patterson said. “You can drive through the county and see the obvious benefits to our downtowns. It’s a tremendous program.”
The accreditation process scores the communities on such criteria as community support, historic preservation ethic, mission and vision statements, boards and committees and ongoing training.
Patterson said the new tiered program categorizes a community as either select, associate or affiliate level. The select level must have a historic downtown or hamlet settled in the 1800s or early 1900s, primarily built before 1940. Associate and affiliate levels have a wider range of criteria to serve more communities, including historic downtowns and hamlets, urban mixed-use development or commercial centers. Associates and affiliates would receive training, technical services and promotional and networking opportunities. Select communities receive a more extensive list of services.
“This three-tiered program allows us to reach out to more of our distinct downtowns and hamlets,” Patterson said. “We can now work with communities with Heritage Corridors such as Woodward Avenue, Eight Mile Road and Dixie Highway as well as newer mixed-use urban centers.”
Main Street is a trademarked program of the National Main Street Center. Clawson, Farmington, Ferndale, Franklin, Highland, Holly, Lake Orion, Ortonville, Oxford, Pontiac, Rochester and Walled Lake are select level Main Street communities. Birmingham, Clarkston, Lathrup Village, Leonard, Oak Park, Waterford and Wixom are communities in the associate level program.
Main Street is operated under the planning division of the county’s economic development department. Oakland County is the first county in the United States to operate a full-service county-wide Main Street program.
Visit MainStreetOaklandCounty.com for more information.