The National Trust for Historic Preservation has awarded the 2011 Great American Main Street Awards® (GAMSA) to Old Town Lansing Main Street. Recognized as a leader following the Main Street Four-Point Approach®, embracing sound historic preservation ethics and building strategic partnerships, Old Town Main Street.
The National Trust Main Street Center’s annual GAMSA winners are recognized for their exceptional accomplishments in revitalizing the nation’s historic and traditional Main Street commercial districts by using the proven Main Street Four-Point Approach. Built in the mid-to-late nineteenth century as Lansing’s original downtown, Old Town Lansing fell into a period of neglect and abandonment starting in the 1960s. Since Old Town Main Street’s incorporation in 1996, crime rates in the district have fallen to the lowest in the city, the vacancy rate has dropped from 90% to less than 10%, and it boasts one of the highest concentrations of arts and creative service businesses in Michigan. A diverse pool of committed volunteers, tireless grassroots leaders and an interesting mix of businesses, entertainment and cultural events have helped Old Town Lansing.
“Lansing’s Old Town District, the original downtown of Michigan’s Capital City has emerged from decades of disinvestment and blight to be a model for urban revitalization,” says Governor Rick Snyder. “[Old Town Lansing Main Street] and the community it serves, is an inspiration and example to communities not only across Michigan, but across the country.”
The other four winners include Downtown Beloit Association, Beloit, Wisconsin; Main Street Fort Pierce, Fort Pierce, Florida; Downtown Newark Partnership, Newark, Delaware; and Silver City Main Street Project, Silver City, New Mexico.
GAMSA winners demonstrate exemplary achievement in the process of strengthening their downtowns and commercial districts. The winners were selected by a national jury composed of former award winners, community development professionals and governmental agency representatives who are active in community economic development and historic preservation.
The Main Street Four-Point Approach® is a proven methodology for historic preservation-based economic development that was developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation 30 years ago and is used in more than 2,000 communities throughout the U.S. The method focuses on strengthening community organization, supporting promotion and design, and working to achieve positive economic restructuring.