Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe recently announced the Tennessee communities selected to participate in the seventh round of the Tennessee Downtowns program. The communities selected in this round include Collinwood. Both Clifton and Waynesboro were previously selected to be part of the program.
“TNECD remains focused on strengthening rural Tennessee, and for many communities, that means ensuring their historic downtowns are vibrant,” Rolfe said. “The Tennessee Downtowns program is an essential part of our rural development strategy, and we look forward to working with these new Tennessee Downtowns as they develop sustainable renewal efforts in their commercial districts.”
TNECD provides the Tennessee Downtowns program to communities that want to pursue the Main Street America approach to downtown revitalization. Fifty-eight Tennessee communities have participated in the program since 2010.
The Tennessee Downtowns program helps local communities revitalize traditional commercial districts, enhance community livability, spur job creation, and maintain the historic character of downtown districts. The two-year program coaches selected communities and their steering committees through the steps of launching effective renewal efforts. Tennessee Downtowns includes community training in the Main Street America program and a $15,000 grant for a downtown improvement project.
“We are proud to welcome new communities into the Tennessee Downtowns program and look forward to working with them on their goals for downtown revitalization,” Main Street Program Director Nancy Williams said.
The newly selected communities all have downtown commercial districts established at least 50 years ago and demonstrated their readiness to organize efforts for downtown revitalization according to Main Street America principles. The highly competitive selection process was based on historic commercial resources, economic and physical need, demonstrated local effort, overall presentation, and probability of success.
Tennessee Downtown communities that complete the program are eligible for Commercial Façade Improvement Grants as well as Main Street designation. To date, six Tennessee Downtowns have advanced to the Main Street program. Each application was supported by the community’s senator and representatives in the Tennessee General Assembly.
For two years, current Wayne County Commissioner Sherrie Powers served as President of the Waynesboro Downtown Committee. She will now assume, as a volunteer, the position of President of the Collinwood Downtown Steering Committee. “It was a rewarding experience to be part of the Downtown Waynesboro committee. I am looking forward to working with local business owners, community leaders, and others to enhance Downtown Collinwood,” Mrs. Powers said.
She also expressed sincere appreciation to those who submitted letters of support, and the hard work of the City of Collinwood, the Joint Economic Community Development Board, and the South Central Development District.