Main Street Newsletter - July

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Main Street Monthly

A monthly publication from the Office of Community and Rural Affairs

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Sneak Peek

Check out one of the Great Lakes Main Street Conference sessions

We are only 23 days away from the inaugural Great Lakes Main Street Conference! The cost to register is $100 per person. Registration includes attendance to the breakout and keynote sessions, as well as breakfast and refreshments. If you haven't reserved your spot yet, hurry and register soon!

The complete agenda can be downloaded here. Below is a deep dive into one of the sessions we think you might find beneficial to attend:

Small Communities, Big “Spark”– Indiana and Michigan Main Streets
Brian Sheehan, Director of Special Projects and Community Development, City of Rushville
Glenn Pape, Executive Director, Oxford Michigan DDA

In this panel, combines the experience of Main Streets in both Indiana and Michigan. Brian Sheehan of Rushville, Indiana and Glenn Pape of Oxford, Michigan will touch on how they are revitalizing and marketing their small towns. You will learn how both communities are taking advantage of their assets to attract/retain talent and population and improve quality of life through various projects.

Hear a few real life examples of how to reinvigorate and improve your small community. More information on registration and lodging can be found on our website.

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We also want to take a moment and extend our gratitude to Accelerate Indiana Municipalities (Aim) for sponsoring our "Great Lakes Gala on the Water." Thank you for your generous support!

Tell us how you are celebrating Downtown Development Week

DDW Celebrate

We are starting the countdown to our favorite week of the year- Downtown Development Week! And as a part of our celebration, we want to celebrate alongside you and help promote all of your planned events! Whether these activities are taking place especially for DDW or not, we want it to be a special time for ALL Hoosiers to visit their downtowns and commercial cores. It’s not too late to plan an event if you haven’t already!

Event possibilities are endless! It doesn’t have to be a big or expensive activity that takes over your entire town. Transform regular activities, such as a farmers market, into a downtown themed event. Don’t be shy about   celebrating and showcasing all of the great things that make your community and your downtown unique!

Click this link and complete the form for each planned event. If you know of other organizations holding events during that time, please pass the link to them, as well. 

! OCRA will compile all of the events into an interactive map, and promote them daily through social media. The map will be located on our DDW website and available once we start receiving events.

INspire Idea competition selects five finalists

Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs announced five Indiana Main Street organizations as finalists for the INspire Idea competition.

The goal of the competition is to encourage the Indiana Main Street network of communities and professionals to design creative projects for the benefit of their communities. After a thorough review, the following Main Street communities have been chosen as finalists:

  • Culver Main Street;
  • Greenfield Main Street;
  • Greater Lafayette Commerce;
  • Heart of Sullivan; and
  • LaPorte Economic Advancement Partnership.

These finalists are competing for one of two $5,000 grants, which will be awarded at the Great Lakes Main Street Conference.

For more information, visit

Important Dates

Wednesday, Aug. 14 − Rural Opportunity Zone Initiative sites announced

Thursday, Aug. 15 − CDBG Round 1 awards announced

Friday, Aug. 16 − Peer Program applications due

August 18 to 20 − Great Lakes Main Street Conference

Monday, Aug. 19 − CDBG Round 2 open for applications

View our full calendar.

Great Lakes Welcome Reception information

The welcome reception will be in The Bistro at the Marriott beginning at 6 p.m. Once you enter the lobby, look to the left hand side. A variety of food options will be available on the buffet and soft drinks will also be provided. Alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase.

Special thanks to Downtown South Bend for hosting the welcome reception.


Knox launches Pop Up Store

From AIM Innovation Magazine

Knox community leaders want to attract more retail to the northern Indiana city’s downtown.

To kickstart those efforts, the city purchased a vacant building to fill with a local entrepreneur. The idea: provide a launch pad for a new business by softening the upfront costs of opening a storefront.

They call the concept a Pop Up Store. And today, the vacant building in the heart of Downtown Knox is being transformed into a coffee shop.

“In small downtowns, you’re not going to get your chain stores,” said Mayor Dennis Estok, who leads the city of more than 3,500 residents. “You are going to get something that is unique.”

Be a part of a national network of Main Streets. Visit or call 312-619-5611 to join Main Street America.