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National Main Street Program accredits Willmar Design Center

WILLMAR — The Willmar Design Center has been designated as an accredited National Main Street Program for meeting the commercial district revitalization performance standards set by the National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Each year, the National Main Street Center and its partners announce the list of accredited Main Street programs that have built strong revitalization organizations and demonstrate their ability in using the Main Street Four-Point Approach for strengthening their local economy and protecting their historic buildings.

“Accredited Main Street programs are meeting the challenges of the downtown in the economy head on and are successfully using a focused, comprehensive revitalization strategy to keep their communities vibrant and sustainable,” said Valecia Crisafulli, acting director of the National Main Street Center.

The organization’s performance is annually evaluated by Minnesota Main Street Director Emily Northey. The state programs works in partnership with the National Main Street Center to identify the local programs that meet 10 performance standards.

These standards set the benchmarks for measuring an individual Main Street program’s application of the Main Street Four-Point Approach to commercial district revitalization.

Evaluation criteria determine communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as developing a mission, fostering strong public-private partnerships, securing an operating budget, tracking economic progress and preserving historic buildings.

The Willmar Design Center has named two downtown buildings to the National Register of Historic Places and secured two state grants for rehabilitation of buildings, as well as a transportation grant that extends the Glacial Lakes Trail to Selvig Park in downtown Willmar this summer.

Becker Market has received multiple grants to help grow the downtown market. Also, the Southwest Partnership is funding the expansion of local food in Willmar.

Willmar Design Center President Gary Geiger said, “I am proud of the collaboration between the City of Willmar and the Willmar Design Center which developed the downtown plan.”