Major initiatives to improve downtown Monett advanced during the Dec. 11 meeting of the Monett Main Street Board of Directors.
Reports from the organization, promotion, design and economic restructuring committees offered details on new programs under development to stimulate growth in Monett's downtown.
The organization committee reported on a proposal to establish a for-profit Community Development Corporation (CDC). The CDC would be formed to provide capital to businesses in the downtown area.
Rather than focus solely on Broadway businesses, the CDC would have a footprint more closely aligned with the Downtown Revitalization and Economic Assistance for Missouri (DREAM) Initiative. The area involved would extend from Central Avenue on the west to 13th Street on the east, from Bond Street on the north to Front Street on the south.
Capital would be provided initially with investments from local banks. Participation would satisfy the banks' Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) requirements. Funds would be used primarily to provide gap financing for existing and start-up businesses in the downtown area.
Directors of the CDC will determine other uses for funds. Directors will be elected following incorporation.
The design committee reported exploring a number of options to renovate buildings on Broadway.
Jeanine Rahn, with Missouri Main Street Connection, attended the meeting to assist the board with development of Monett Main Street's 2013 work plan.
Board members reviewed Main Street's accomplishments during 2012, which included:
* Preparation of articles of incorporation and approved bylaws for the establishment of Monett Main Street Inc.
* The intent to file a 501(C)3 not-for-profit corporation application with the Internal Revenue Service in January 2013.
* Publication of a quarterly bilingual newsletter, The Broadway Beat, that was mailed to all utility customers of Monett utilities.
* Design and approval of a Monett Main Street logo and the tagline, "Discover Downtown."
* A recommendation for new autumn banners for the downtown lampposts that were purchased by the city.
* Approval for the formation of a downtown Community Development Corporation (CDC) to incentivize development in the downtown area.
* Approval of a wayfinding signage plan for new signs to attract more traffic to the downtown area.
* The awarding of grants to four downtown businesses to make improvements to their facades.
* Organization of a volunteer effort to clean-up vacant storefronts.
* Organization of a Hispanic Town Hall meeting to promote more involvement in downtown.
* The fostering of community partnerships with the Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Betterment Group, Asociaci--n Latino IMAGEN, the City of Monett and local banks.
* Tracking the development and business activity within the Main Street footprint from Second to Seventh streets. In nine months, there was $365,000 of private investment and a net ofnine new jobs created.
Committees will submit their draft work plans for 2013 by Feb. 13. The board will review those plans and prepare a budget by April 13.
Monett Main Street meets bi-monthly. The next meeting will be in mid to late February, 2013.