Berkley and Royal Oak became members of Main Street Oakland County and six other downtowns were honored during the “Super Heroes of Main Street” gala celebration at the Flagstar Strand Theatre for the Performing Arts in Pontiac on Thursday, May 10.
More than 200 people, including many local and county officials, joined Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson at the annual event Thursday evening to recognize and honor communities, businesses and volunteers for their efforts to preserve and energize their downtowns.
“You don’t just get an idea, gather a few friends and set aside a weekend to work and ‘voila,’ you have a viable downtown,” Patterson said. “Creating the kind of downtowns that attract businesses, residents and visitors while preserving a community’s heritage takes sustained effort and commitment. I congratulate our Main Street Oakland County communities, volunteers and businesses for their vision, energy and the incredible work they’ve done. And I’m excited to welcome Berkley and Royal Oak to the Main Street family. This is a great night.”
Patterson and Deputy County Executive Dr. Timothy Meyer, who heads up economic development for the county, presented officials from Berkley and Royal Oak with proclamations marking their acceptance into Main Street. Elected officials from both communities approved joining the program.
It was also announced that Genisys Credit Union and Flagstar Bank will each fund grants to enhance and improve the county’s downtowns. Application and eligibility details as well as available grant amounts will be announced in June.
During the evening, honors in 11 categories were awarded to six communities. MSOC created the awards program in 2004 to recognize excellence in downtown revitalization in such areas as design, economic restructuring, organization and promotion. The judging panel was comprised of experts in historic preservation and economic development.
The Holly Downtown Development Authority received a $2,000 cash award from Genisys Credit Union for creating a video essay displaying the “Spirit of Main Street” about its historic downtown. Go Comedy and the Ferndale DDA split a $1,500 award from Michigan Glass Coatings for their display window showing community pride with a super hero theme.
Other Super Heroes of Main Street winners were:
- Volunteer of the Year: Jordan Knudsen, Lake Orion
- Local Leader of the Year: Rick Hamill, Highland
- Board Member of the Year: Michael Hennes, Ferndale
- Business Owner of the Year: Mary Liz Curtin, Clawson: Leon & Lulu’s
- Celebrating Main Street: Cinema in the Street, Clawson
- On a Shoestring: Downtown Dollars, Ortonville
- Out in the Open: Downtown Light Pole Banner Program, Ortonville
- Telling Your Story: Downtown Design Guidelines, Clawson
- Game Change: 20 Front Street, Lake Orion
Patterson recognized nine MSOC communities for receiving accreditation from the National Main Street Center in Chicago: Clawson, Farmington, Ferndale, Highland Township, Holly, Lake Orion, Ortonville, Oxford and Rochester.
The event was sponsored by ITC, A Fortis Company; SMART; Genisys Credit Union; the Oakland County Business Finance Corp.; The Dobrusin Law Firm and Michigan Glass Coatings.
Since 2001, MSOC downtowns have generated about $787 million in new public and private investment, created 7,636 jobs and established 1,103 new businesses.
In 2017, public and private investment totaled more than $46 million and resulted in 258 net new jobs; 83 net new businesses; and volunteer contributions of more than 15,000 hours of volunteer time.
Main Street is a trademarked program of the National Main Street Center in Chicago. Auburn Hills, Berkley, Birmingham, Clarkston, Clawson, Farmington, Ferndale, Franklin, Groveland Township, Hazel Park, Highland Township, Holly, Holly Township, Lake Orion, Lathrup Village, Leonard, Oak Park, Ortonville, Oxford, Pontiac, Rochester, Royal Oak, South Lyon, Waterford Township and Wixom comprise Main Street Oakland County.
Oakland County is the first and still only county in the United States to operate a full-service county-wide Main Street program. It is available to the county’s 32 historic downtowns, heritage corridors and mixed-use urban centers.