Two of the City of Allentown’s programs that support the two main thoroughfares in the Downtown area recently received prominent national recognition.
The Seventh Street Development Committee and Hamilton District Main Street Program have been designated as accredited National Main Street Programs for meeting the commercial district revitalization performance standards set by the National Main Street Center®, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Each year, the National Main Street Center and its partners announce the list of accredited Main Street® programs that have built strong revitalization organizations and demonstrate their ability in using the Main Street Four Point Approach® methodology for strengthening their local economy and protecting their historic buildings.
“I am proud to lead a city that has two thriving Main Street Programs – the 7th Street Development Committee and Hamilton District. The combined successes of each of these programs intersect at 7th and Hamilton – in the heart of Allentown’s new economic development projects,” said Mayor Pawlowski.
“We congratulate this year’s nationally accredited Main Street programs for meeting our established performance standards,” said Valecia Crisafulli, acting director of the National Main Street Center. “Accredited Main Street programs are meeting the challenges of the downtown in the economy head on and are successfully using a focused, comprehensive revitalization strategy to keep their communities vibrant and sustainable.”
Some of the standards that are evaluated for accreditation in the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts include developing a mission, fostering strong public-private partnerships, securing an operating budget, tracking economic progress and preserving historic buildings.
CADC-A was created by the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley in 1993 to promote community and economic development in Allentown’s inner-city neighborhoods. Its Start Your Business Program has assisted more than 20 business start-ups per year. It operates Allentown’s Main Street Program on Seventh Street, guided by the Seventh Street Development Committee (SSDC), an all volunteer group whose commitment is reflected by winning two statewide awards for its work. The agency also oversees comprehensive revitalization efforts in conjunction with Old Allentown Preservation Association in the neighborhood immediately west of Seventh Street and a similar project in conjunction with Jordon Heights Neighborhood Revitalization group in the neighborhood east of Seventh Street.
The Hamilton District Main Street Program was created in 2008 through public-private partnership led by the Allentown Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber, the City of Allentown, and the business community joined forces to create a program that would benefit the small and micro businesses within the city’s Central Business District. This Main Street Program has focused on promotions and marketing through events and public relations initiatives that benefit the businesses and residents within this district, including the Summer in the City; Blues, Brews & Barbecue and First Monday events, over the past few years. More recently, they partnered with the SSDC and private sector companies on a program to improve the facades within the district.
Established by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1980, the National Main Street Center helps communities of all sizes revitalize their older and historic commercial districts. Working in more than 2,200 downtowns and urban neighborhoods over the last 32 years, the Main Street program has leveraged more than $55.7 billion in new public and private investment. Participating communities have created 473,535 net new jobs and 109,693 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 236,418 buildings, leveraging an average of $18 in new investment for every dollar spent on their Main Street district revitalization efforts.