Herald-Progress article July 20, 2017 – “Ashland Main Street Representatives Recognized for Superior Work”
Ashland, VA—On July 12, representatives of the Ashland Main Street Association were presented with a Virginia Main Street Merit Award for Best Downtown Retail Even for their Light Up the Tracks event at the Virginia Main Street Downtown Intersections workshop in Winchester, Virginia.
“Our Virginia Main Street communities are truly making a difference in our beautiful downtown districts,” said DHCD Director Bill Shelton. ”In the last five years, designated Main Street communities have sparked more than $186 million in private investment in their districts, and as a result, there has been a net collective gain of 4,600 jobs across our Main Street downtown districts.”
This award is given to the Main Street organization that has the best downtown retail promotion designed to generate foot traffic to local retail businesses within their Main Street district.
The Ashland Main Street Association led the second annual “Light Up the Tracks” retail promotion, designed to attract visitors to downtown shopping and dining, while they enjoyed the “Mile-long Holiday Card” of historic homes and storefronts festively illuminated along the railroad tracks. Approximately 5000 visitors attended the Grand Illumination in early December, but the primary goal was to draw sho
ppers to Ashland throughout the holiday season. The 2016 event brought national press and record numbers of visitors to downtown Ashland, with businesses reporting their best holiday shopping season in years.
In addition to Ashland, Virginia Main Street recognized the following communities for excellence: Culpeper for Best Downtown Public Improvement Project; Harrisonburg for Best Adaptive Reuse Project; St. Paul for Outstanding Business; Harrisonburg for Best Innovation; and Danville for Volunteer of the Year.
Currently, there are 28 designated Virginia Main Street communities including: Abingdon, Altavista, Ashland, Bedford, Berryville, Blackstone, Bristol, Culpeper, Danville, Farmville, Franklin, Fredericksburg, Gloucester, Harrisonburg, Hopewell, Lexington, Luray, Lynchburg, Manassas, Marion, Martinsville, Orange, Saint Paul, South Boston, Staunton, Warrenton, Winchester and Wytheville.
The Virginia Main Street program, managed by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), provides assistance and training to help communities increase the economic vitality of their downtown commercial districts. Virginia Main Street uses the National Main Street model to help communities revitalize their downtowns by focusing on their unique heritage and attributes. The program helps communities implement a comprehensive revitalization strategy that creates economic growth and pride in downtowns.
For more information about the Virginia Main Street program, call (804) 371-7030 or visit www.dhcd.virginia.gov/MainStreet.