National expert to assess Main Street in Herkimer, help plan for development

By WKTV News

HERKIMER, N.Y. - A national expert on downtown revitalization will visit the Village of Herkimer on January 4 and 5 to assess Main Street’s greatest challenges and opportunities and to recommend a course of action for its revitalization. 

The assessment will be conducted by Teresa Lynch, a Senior Program Officer with the Main Street Center of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. 

It is funded by a $5,500 grant awarded to the Village of Herkimer by the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties.  The Village will also contribute $1,000 toward the cost.

This Assessment visit has four major objectives:

  • To identify some of the commercial district’s major problems, opportunities, and needs;
  • To provide community members with information about the Main Street® approach to commercial district revitalization;
  • To determine best methods within the Main Street® approach for the downtown district’s revitalization; and
  • To recommend a realistic, achievable course of action for the short term.

Lynch will arrive on January 4 to tour the Village and interview local officials, educators, members of community and cultural groups, Main Street business and property owners, and Village residents.

From 5:30 to 7 p.m. on January 4, Lynch will deliver a community presentation to describe the Main Street Four Point Approach® to downtown revitalization and discuss what she has observed about downtown Herkimer. 

This presentation will be held at the Frank J. Basloe Library, located on North Main Street.  The public is invited to attend and there will be a question and answer period at the end of the session. 

On January 5, Lynch will meet with Village officials and Herkimer Now Committee members to review the highlights of her findings and present “next steps” to move forward with the Assessment’s recommendations.

According to Mayor Mark Ainsworth, “the Assessment will provide us with an objective analysis of Main Street’s biggest needs.  The National Trust Main Street Center has worked with over 2,000 communities across the country and has a wealth of experience to share with us.  We’re hoping that the Assessment will help us figure out what strategies we should pursue and what specific actions we should take to revitalize Main Street.”

"A community's downtown is one of the most important parts of its economy," said Lynch. "It is also the community's most public place, a place that truly belongs to everyone and that reflects the community's evolution and vision. A healthy downtown is a sign of a healthy community."

In 1980, the National Trust for Historic Preservation founded the highly-successful Main Street Four-Point Approach®, a community-driven program with a comprehensive methodology that encourages economic development within the context of historic preservation in ways appropriate to today’s marketplace. The Main Street Approach advocates a return to community self-reliance, local empowerment, and the preservation of traditional historic commercial districts based on their unique assets, distinctive architecture, a pedestrian-friendly environment, personal service, local ownership, and a sense of community. In addition to offering on-site commercial economic development consultancy services to communities, the National Trust Main Street Center publishes training materials, provides workshops and conferences, conducts research on critical commercial revitalization issues, and provides national advocacy.

To date, communities participating in the Main Street® program have generated over $51.1 billion in new downtown investment, with a net gain of over 436,909 new jobs and 99,508 new businesses. The National Trust Main Street Center's impressive track record in helping communities create new jobs and attract investment makes the Main Street program one of the most successful economic development programs in the nation. For more information, visit www.mainstreet.org.

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