From the Main Street Director’s Desk
More new additions and changes for Grayling Main Street
by Rae Gosling, Grayling Main Street Executive Director
Grayling Main Street (GMSt) racked up countless additions in 2016. Teaming with the Project Rising Tide (PRT) steering committee, building new events, and welcoming new team members were some of the accomplishments for the start of the year. PRT offered new opportunities for GMSt to engage with the public, and make a more meaningful impact. New events offered the community a fresh set of ways to come together. The additions did not end in the summer after Paddle Battle; the fun kept expanding!
The start of GMSt’s fiscal year in July ushered in another new addition, the National Main Street Refresh. The Main Street programming across the nation is constantly under review, looking out for ways to improve the program, help communities more, and make the change last longer. GMSt took the change in fiscal year as an opportunity to begin slowly integrating the “Refresh” updates to the 4-Point Approach. In the coming weeks, I will spend an entire column on this revision, because it is worth it to explain how the program will better leverage the resources available. As far as this article is concerned, we began review of the new model in the summer of 2016.
A few short weeks after the success of the Paddle Battle and the first conversations about the refresh, GMSt suffered a loss. The Director, Mrs. Danielle Seabolt, made the decision to stay home with baby, instead of returning as the full-time director for the program. Fortunately for GMSt she also decided to maintain a relationship with the program by transitioning into a volunteer role. August of 2016 was when I officially became the full-time permanent Grayling Main Street Director. Our third, in as many years. It is common for Main Street programs to see Director turnover at a “high” rate for the first several years, and it only slows slightly after the community is better established. The average Main Street Manager (or Director as our community has chosen) tenure in a community is between two and a half and three years. It is not unusual for a Select Level community, like Grayling, to see three Directors before becoming a Master Level community. As communities develop and evolve the needs of the organization change, and thus, the type of Director needed changes as well.
The final addition I will discuss in this edition is the official welcome of the AmeriCorp VISTA. In late August of 2016 the GMSt program welcomed Ms. Heather Tait to the program as a Volunteer In Service To America (VISTA). AmeriCorp VISTA members come to communities and programs to assist in capacity building projects. These projects can then be handed off to other volunteers with the program, when their one year of service is completed. Heather, our VISTA, will be helping to improve and document our communication plan, including social media and email communication to volunteers, outreach to the public, and marketing our downtown.
Want to know more about how GMSt and PRT became a power couple, and another new event in Downtown Grayling? Check back in future editions of the Avalanche for more From the Main Street Director’s Desk. You can also check out our website, www.DowntownGrayling. com, find us on Facebook, or email your questions to DowntownGrayling@gmail.com.
Rae Gosling is the Grayling Main Street Executive Director. She has been with the program since April 2016. She is a Grayling resident, wife, mother, local shopper, avid supporter of all things Grayling, and keeps everyone on their toes wondering what color her eye shadow and hair will be next.