From The Main Street Director’s Desk
Main Street structure and Grayling
by Rae Gosling | Grayling Main Street Executive Director
As you know, Grayling is a Michigan Main Street Community. Last week, I gave some background on the program, and how Grayling became involved. This week, I’m providing a little more detail on the structure of the Michigan Main Street program, and how Grayling is building on that framework.
Main Street communities have three distinctions: Associate, Select, and Master. These distinctions can be likened to apprenticeship, journeyman status, and mastery.
The Associate level is a community’s opportunity to find out more about what it takes to be successful and begin filling the toolbox with necessary resources. Grayling was eager to succeed, and filled the toolbox quickly. Volunteer and financial resources were gathered and catalogued for success as we embarked on the journey to redevelop the community.
The Select level is similar to the journeyman stage, a trained but still developing role. Select level communities receive concentrated guidance and training to build the program. They learn to apply the 4-Point Approach and use it to create committees, manage volunteers, execute events, and work toward economic development of the district. With the toolbox in hand, Grayling began the work of building the structure that is the Grayling Main Street program.
After receiving acceptance as a Select Level community Grayling Main Street (GMS) became a part of the existing Downtown Development Authority (DDA). Members from the Grayling Revitalization Improvement Project (GRIP) were appointed to the DDA Board, and GRIP officially dissolved. By combining the DDA and Main Street boards Grayling was able to avoid creating a gap between the city and the revitalization project. Instead they created the opportunity to leverage more resources as a team. This partnership allowed GMS to move forward without having to create by-laws, form a separate board, and create an accounting plan for the proposed budget. This resulted in a more rapid development of the organization.
Once the foundation of the program structure was created, in partnership with the city government, GMS began the search for a Main Street Director.
The National Main Street Center, as well as Michigan Main Street Center, assisted with attracting experienced Main Street professionals to Grayling. The opportunity to build a Main Street program, with a dedicated pool of volunteers, was an easy sell; more than 20 applications were received for the position. The first Grayling Main Street Director was Mr. Riley Hollenbaugh. Upon arriving in Grayling, from Colorado, he immediately set to building relationships with the downtown merchants and engaging with volunteers.
In the first year as a Select Level community Grayling was faced with the task of building the frame for the program’s long-term success. The Main Street 4-Point Approach is the blueprint all Main Street communities start with, and continue to use as the guiding principles for their programs.
Want to know more about the Main Street 4-Point Approach and how Grayling uses it? 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.