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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Monett selected for 2010 DREAM Initiative

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Downtown Monett at a recent sunset. [Times Photo by Murray Bishoff]
Monett is one of five Missouri cities selected to participate in the 2010 DREAM (Downtown Revitalization and Economic Assistance for Missouri) Initiative program.

This was the third year Monett had applied for the grant. Also named this year were Cassville, Ozark, Waynesville and Jackson.

"All the planning that's gone into getting to this point has served us well," said Monett City Administrator Dennis Pyle. "The real work begins now."

Monett's application for the fifth round of DREAM combined the Vision 2030 report prepared by the Drury University architecture students with the cooperative venture between the city, the Monett Chamber of Commerce and the downtown merchants in establishing the new position of downtown coordinator, which is now held by DJ Miller.

The latest application emphasized the new businesses that have come to Monett's downtown, such as Mocha Jo's and Denali Dreams, as well as the Broadway Nights promotion, showing new activity downtown.

"The 2009 application tried to emphasize concepts. The 2010 version emphasized implementation of the concepts," Pyle said.

The DREAM Initiative was launched to help small and mid-sized Missouri communities navigate through the various downtown revitalization, business development and residential resources available through state government to further help those communities with downtown revitalization and job creation efforts. Applications were evaluated by representatives from the three DREAM Initiative partners, the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the Missouri Development Finance Board and the Missouri Housing Development Commission. The evaluation process included confirming applications were complete and attention to community capacity, vision, opportunity for private investment, broad community support and a comprehensive approach.
"A top priority of Gov. Nixon's administration is to support economic development to help create jobs," said David Kerr, director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development. "The DREAM Initiative is a key instrument in the DED toolbox to aid in the economic development and downtown revitalization of the communities that have been selected as DREAM communities.

"Awarding DREAM Initiative status to these communities demonstrates DED's continued commitment to working with communities to create new opportunities that will transform our state's economy for the future," Kerr said.

Pyle said the state contracts with the engineering firm of Peckham, Guyton, Albers and Viets (PGAV) to do all of its DREAM work. A kick-off meeting with the community will be scheduled. Additional meetings will follow. Surveys will be taken and interviews held with stakeholders in the project area, merchants and public officials. Periodic update meetings will also be held.

PGAV will undertake a market analysis, make building inventories and studies to arrive at a strategic plan for the downtown to implement. Pyle said the program will identify state and federal programs that will assist in funding.

"Typically DREAM cities get priority for the grant process," Pyle said.

There is no specified dollar figure for what DREAM will contribute to Monett over the three-year process. Pyle said the result depends on the depth of the city's involvement. Monett is required to contribute $37,000 to $50,000 as a local match. After the three years conclude, the city is expected to continue the revitalization effort on its own.

"Monett has had its match set aside," Pyle said. "It's been frustrating to read about some cities pulling back on what they were required to do, due to funding, when we were eager to get into the program."

Since the first communities were established, DREAM communities have received more than $179 million in public investment for housing, construction and renovation projects and infrastructure improvements. Public funding secured through the initiative has created an unprecedented $600 million in private investment to benefit the DREAM communities.

The inaugural DREAM designees were: Cape Girardeau, Excelsior Springs, Hannibal, Hermann, Kennett, Neosho, Sedalia, St. Joseph, Washington and West Plains. Since then, additional DREAM community designations have been awarded to Aurora, Boonville, Brookfield, California, Caruthersville, Chillicothe, Clinton, Farmington, Fulton, Farmington, Kirksville, Lamar, Lebanon, Louisiana, Maryville, Mexico, New Haven, Poplar Bluff, Rolla, Sikeston Strafford, Trenton, Warrensburg and Webb City.

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