WHO WE ARE

THE “DOWNTOWN OWOSSO” BRAND IS SPONSORED BY OWOSSO MAIN STREET, A VOLUNTEER-LED ORGANIZATION.

Owosso Main Street/DDA (OMS) is a volunteer-led organization that exists to foster an active and thriving downtown that is the heart of our community by promoting historic preservation and drawing both local residents and visitors to our city. We use the Main Street Four-Point Approach® process as an opportunity to introduce volunteers into the more traditional, professional-led downtown development historically completed by the Owosso Downtown Development Authority (DDA). This process requires that the program be led by a Board of Directors. The board of Owosso Main Street is the board of the Owosso DDA.

MISSION

OWOSSO MAIN STREET’S MISSION IS TO FOSTER AN ACTIVE AND THRIVING DOWNTOWN THAT IS THE HEART OF OUR COMMUNITY BY PROMOTING HISTORIC PRESERVATION AND DRAWING BOTH LOCAL RESIDENTS AND VISITORS TO OUR CITY.

VISION

OUR DOWNTOWN, BRIGHT WITH PROMISE AND POTENTIAL, CAPTURES THE SPIRIT OF COMMUNITY. IT IS A GATHERING PLACE TO WORK, EAT, PLAY, AND STAY. DOWNTOWN OWOSSO IS RICH WITH OPPORTUNITIES IN ART, ENTERTAINMENT, BUSINESS, AND LEARNING. OWOSSO MAIN STREET UNITES INDIVIDUALS, BUSINESSES, AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT TO REVITALIZE OUR HISTORIC DOWNTOWN. IT IS A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH THAT FOCUSES ON COMMUNITY ASSETS AND PARTNERSHIPS TO PRESERVE AND PROMOTE HISTORIC OWOSSO.

Leadership

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

CHAIRMAN
Dave Acton | Property Owner | dacton@chartermi.net

VICE CHAIRMAN
Bill Gilbert | Property Owner & Merchant | billgilbert515@gmail.com

SECRETARY
Currently vacant

TREASURER
Ken Cushman | Ex-officio & Business Owner | chirocush@gmail.com

AUTHORITY MEMBERS
Chris Eveleth | Mayor & City Council | chriseveleth@gmail.com

Lance Omer | Property Owner & Merchant | lance@remax-owosso-mi.com

Jon Moore | Merchant | thejonjmoore@gmail.com

Theresa Trecha | Property Owner & Merchant | capitolbowl@yahoo.com

Jim Woodworth | Property Owner | jharrisonwoodworth@gmail.com

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Josh Adams | Full-Time Staff | downtownowosso@gmail.com | 989.277.1553

PROMOTION & OUTREACH COMMITTEE

Focuses on the Organization and Promotion approaches of the National 4-Point Approach.

COMMITTEE MEMBERS
John Hankerd – Co-Chair
Sue Treen – Co-Chair
Tracey Peltier (DOFM)
Kim Springsdorf (CVB & SRI)
Chris Eveleth (City Council/Mayor)
Robert Doran (OHC)
Sue Osika (City Council)

DESIGN & BUSINESS VITALITY COMMITTEE

Focuses on the Design and Economic Vitality approaches.

COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Bill Gilbert (BM) – Co-Chair
Lance Omer (BM) – Co-Chair
Lorraine Weckwert
Kathryn Gehrs-Pahl
Dave Acton (BM)
Theresa Trecha

BM = Board Member
DOFM = Downtown Owosso Farmers Market
CVB = Convention & Visitors Bureau
SRI = Steam Railroading Institute
OHC = Owosso Historical Commission
SRCC = Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce

The Promotion & Outreach Committee focuses on the Organization and Promotion approaches of the National Main Street 4-Point Approach through regular meetings and Work Plan development/implementation.

  • Promoting Main Street takes many forms, but the ultimate goal is to position the downtown or commercial district as the center of the community and the hub of economic activity, while creating a positive image that showcases a community’s unique characteristics. This can be done through highlighting cultural traditions, celebrating and preserving important architecture and history, encouraging local businesses to market cooperatively, offering coordinated specials and sales, and hosting special events aimed at changing perceptions of the district and communicating to residents, investors, businesses, and property-owners that this place is special.
  • A strong organizational foundation is key for a sustainable Main Street revitalization effort. This can take many forms, from a standalone non-profit organization, to a special assessment district, to a program housed in a municipality or existing community development entity. Regardless of the organizational type, the focus is on ensuring that all organizational resources (partners, funding, volunteers, etc.) are mobilized to effectively implement the Community Transformative Strategies.

The Design & Business Vitality Committee focuses on the Design and Economic Vitality approaches through regular meetings and Work Plan development/implementation.

 

  • A focus on Design supports a community’s transformation by enhancing the physical elements of downtown while capitalizing on the unique assets that set the commercial district apart.  Main Streets enhance their appeal to residents and visitors alike with attention to public space through the creation of pedestrian friendly streets, inclusion of public art in unexpected areas, visual merchandising, adaptive reuse of older and historic buildings, more efficiently-designed buildings, transit oriented development, and much more.
  • Revitalizing a downtown or neighborhood commercial district requires focusing on the underlying Economic Vitality of the district.   This work is rooted in a commitment to making the most of a community’s unique sense of place and existing historic assets, harnessing local economic opportunity and creating a supportive business environment for small business owners and the growing scores of entrepreneurs, innovators, and localists alike. With the nation-wide growing interest in living downtown, supporting downtown housing is also a key element of building Economic Vitality.

A PLAN TO SUCCEED

WHAT SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE

To succeed, Main Street must show visible results that can only come from completing projects – both shorter and longer-term activities that add up to meaningful change. Activities aligned with shorter-term strategies focus on highly visible changes that are a reminder that the revitalization effort is under way and succeeding, helping to secure buy-in from community members and rallying volunteers. Placemaking strategies – those actions which focus on what can be achieved “lighter, quicker, and cheaper” are particularly effective and important in energizing the community and demonstrating short-term progress.

While shorter-term, highly visible activities are critical to Main Street’s success, communities must also sustain focus on implementation of longer-term projects and activities that are the building blocks for substantial change over time. Identifying milestones for these longer-term projects can be important in creating a sense of forward momentum and reinforcing to the community the need for sustained focus on revitalization efforts.

Coinciding with implementation is an equally important focus on measuring progress and results. Healthy Main Streets are built on a commitment to measure outcomes. We live in a time where public resources are scarce, and competition for private resources is fierce. Main Streets must be able to demonstrate the wise use of resources, which translates to real change on the ground: new jobs added to a Main Street, new businesses open, buildings redeveloped, and numerous other metrics of success. Owosso Main Street and the National Main Street Center, together with our network of over 45 Main Street Coordinating Partners, works to make measuring results on Main Street easier and accurate.

TRANSFORMATION STRATEGIES

Owosso, Michigan is home of the original “Polar Express” Train – the 1225 Pere Marquette Steam Train; we have a great historic park and Castle that highlights the life of famous author James Oliver Curwood, and we are rich in community theater and talented artists. We also have a wonderful meandering river that runs right through the downtown. Owosso Main Street is privileged to have these historic, natural, cultural, and artistic assets (and the wonderful non-profit organizations that run them) within our district. Over the past few years there has been a coordinated effort to collaborate and find ways to better promote our community and these assets. We have had a lot of success during that time building stronger relationships amongst organizations and have started new, coordinated efforts.

Then our partners from the National Main Street Center came into town! Using community surveys and market study data they helped us form a “Transformation Strategy” for our organization. The strategy that was chosen for Owosso Main Street was a “Day-Tripper Destination”. For our program this was valuable in two ways: 1) It helped confirm our organization that we were on the right track, and 2) It was a strategy that didn’t just apply to Main Street, it could be a community-wide strategy! This new strategy gives our program and partner organizations a defined vision on how to use our collective assets to promote our community. For Owosso Main Street it made complete sense. It wasn’t force-feeding a new, uncomfortable idea but maximizing what was already in motion. Our board, committees, and partners can see the vision.

Since the development of our Day-Tripper Destination strategy we have been able to take a close look at our current programming and find ways to adjust and/or change tasks & events to better suit our vision. Our efforts to collaborate with partner organizations have strengthened and are now encourage at the board level across non-profits.

We have created a program marketing initiative to help promote all of our downtown’s assets. The targeted direction has attracted new volunteers with new ideas and our community has almost immediately seen a change in the way our downtown is promoted. Together we are creating our own narrative, our own story.

Long-term we will be looking into collaborative efforts to: preserve and build on our historic assets; support the arts & cultural community within our district; and promote the use and stewardship of our natural resource (our river). What does that look like? Future facade grant implementation, collaborative park improvements; sculpture and mural projects; outdoor musical & theater presentations; and a comprehensive riverbank plan that promote both use & conservation. These are not new things to Main Streets, BUT we feel that the vision/goal these Transformation Strategies provide will dramatically speed up the pace in which these initiatives will be completed.

YOU'RE SPECIAL

You have something unique to bring to the team. We’d love for you to be a part of the Owosso Main Street team. Click to see how you can get involved!