Lakewood Is Ohio's Newest Main Street

It was announced at a Columbus ceremony on December 8, 2005, that Lakewood has officially been accepted into the Ohio Main Street Program. This is great news for the City as it will provide the tools necessary to increase investment in the downtown commercial district, protect and strengthen the tax base, attract new businesses to the community, create a distinct image for downtown and improve the overall appearance of the buildings and streetscape.

Lakewood Community Progress, Incorporated (LCPI) is an independent, private, non-profit corporation with a Board of Directors with representatives from downtown businesses, residents, the City administration and the Chamber of Commerce. LCPI is the organization that will manage the Main Street Program. LCPI was created to encourage and support quality planning, economic development, rehabilitation and restoration by fostering public and private partnerships and promoting and celebrating the unique assets of downtown Lakewood.

The process to become a Main Street community began in March of this year with the Downtown Assessment Resource Team (D.A.R.T.) visit held at the Beck Center Armory. The event drew the largest crowd ever for a DART. Based on this tremendous community response, plans were formalized to move forward with the Ohio Main Street Program application. The application process is competitive and Lakewood is one of only a few communities to be accepted upon the first application. Other communities accepted into the program this year are Millersburg and Port Clinton.

As a result of becoming an official Main Street community, LCPI will receive intensive training and technical support needed to enhance downtown Lakewood. The assistance includes volunteer, program manager and board training on issues including marketing and promotion, business recruitment, market analysis, design, historic preservation and fundraising. Downtown Ohio, Inc., the organization that administers the statewide program, will also conduct on-site visits to help LCPI develop its work program and plan for success.
The Ohio Main Street Program is modeled after the National Trust Main Street Center's comprehensive approach to downtown revitalization. Benefits of the program include renewed vitality of the downtown area along with enhanced economic performance. To date, the Main Street Program has been instituted in 43 states and over 1,787 communities. Nationwide, it has helped create 231,682 net new jobs and 57,470 new businesses.

Watch for monthly updates on Main Street initiatives in the Observer. Members of the community who are interested in being involved with the Main Street Program in Lakewood are encouraged to call Jennifer Hooper, Executive Director of LCPI at 521-0655 or email at jhooper@lcpi.org. There are many volunteer opportunities available. More information on the Ohio Main Street Program can be found on the Downtown Ohio Inc. website, www.downtownohio.org.
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Volume 2, Issue 1, Posted 07.40 AM / 11th January 2006.