Main Street Newsletter - December

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Main Street Monthly

A monthly publication from the Office of Community and Rural Affairs

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Congratulations to the Marshall County Crossroads regional team for receiving the 2019 Stellar Communities designation. Our team enjoyed getting to celebrate with everyone involved in the process this past week in Plymouth and Argos. We look forward to working with you over the next four years! From all of us at OCRA, we wish you a fantastic holiday season.

Host IMS -2

Host a community exchange in 2020

Are you interesting in hosting a Main Street Community Exchange in 2020? The Community Exchanges are designed to bring Main Street communities from across the state to various locations to learn about best practices, new initiatives, and gain insight into other communities' unique approach to implementing Main Street. The exchanges feature learning opportunities, lunches, networking, and tours. Each exchange is held on a Friday and is an all-day event. Sign up to host an exchange on five of the six possible dates below:

  • May 29
  • June 26
  • July 24
  • August 21
  • November 20
  • December 11

Each exchange must have topics relevant to one of the following National Main Street’s Four Point Approach, plus one bonus topic as it relates to Main Street.

If you are interested in hosting, please complete this survey by December 31, 2019. Please contact Jackie Swihart to discuss further or ask any questions.

Final Community Exchange takeaways

On Dec. 6, Main Street leaders came from across the state to meet at the beautiful Gallery 119 in Pendleton, Indiana, for a Community Exchange. The group gathered to discuss all things historic preservation and disaster preparedness. Here are the three main takeaways with which we walked away:

You can never plan enough for disaster preparation

Preparation is key! This is the lesson we heard loud and clear from town officials in Pendleton after a tornado ripped through their downtown in May 2019. It was echoed by Laura Schafnitz, the Small Business Administration representative, who outlined what benefits downtown business owners could receive if a plan is prepared ahead of time. If you're interested in learning what is needed for a disaster preparedness plan, please reach out to OCRA.

Document lessons learned

Pendleton noted what worked, what didn't work, things that surprised them, and what they could have changed for better results with their downtown revitalization project. Remember to track lessons learned in all different types of situations your community may experience. You will be able to share them with others and utilize them in the future.

Tell your story within your rebuild

If you have an emergency disaster in your community, find a way to tell that story as you begin your rebuild or repair. Pendleton shared how they communicated with the residents, business owners and other involved constituents as they began to repair their downtown. This not only opens lines of communication, but also allows your Main Street organization, or other community development organizations, to tell the story of resilience.

It was a great networking day in Pendleton that not only included conversations on disaster preparedness, but also historic preservation and updating historic facades. If you would like to know more, please contact Abby Crump or Jackie Swihart to receive PowerPoints or other resources.

Upcoming grant opportunities

Quick Impact Placebased Grant

This matching grant is designed to fund transformational projects that spark community-wide conversations and creativity. The project funding range is $2,500 to $5,000 and for every dollar in grant funds awarded, 50 cents must be matched, via cash or in-kind, by the applicant. All program information will be released on January 13, but we encourage you to start preparing your application early!
Please contact your respective community liaison to discuss project eligibility and competitiveness.

Future of Shopping Small Grant Program

American Express is teaming up with Main Street America to give 10 small business owners $10,000 each to help their businesses innovate in this evolving retail landscape. The American Express Future of Shopping Small Grant Program will celebrate small businesses across the country that are a vital part of their community. The program is intended to support small businesses that have demonstrated new approaches to traditional business strategies and those businesses looking to try out creative techniques, while also helping to revitalize and strengthen older and historic commercial districts. Click here to review the program terms and here to apply! The application deadline is March 31, 2020 11:59 p.m. CST if 3,000 applications have been submitted.

Community Impact Grants

The Home Depot Foundation Community Impact Grants provide funding for nonprofit organizations and public agencies in the United States that are using the power of volunteers to improve communities. Apply quickly before December 31, 2019. Click here to learn more.


Important Dates

Thursday, January 9 − 2019 CDBG Round 2 awards

Monday, January 13
− Quick Impact Placebased (QuIP) Grant applications open

Wednesday, January 15 −
Indiana Main Street Assessment webinar

View our 2020 calendar.

IMS Annual Reports update

It’s that time of the year again! Annual reports are a requirement for the Indiana Main Street program to assess the year prior. Currently, we do not have due dates set for annual reporting or shared instructions for how to submit the reports. However, we encourage you to start collecting information in preparation for reporting. Stay tuned for details to come via email from Jackie Swihart, by the end of the year or early January.

Interested in knowing what to prepare? Click here to view a lit of questions.

Crossroads: Change in Rural America

See the newest exhibit developed by Museum on Main Street, a Smithsonian Institution program that works with rural communities to design and host high-quality exhibits and create dynamic public programs across the United States in its newest location—North Vernon! The exhibit will be on display there through January 26, 2020. Indiana Humanities, in partnership with OCRA, has selected six communities to host the exhibit for six weeks. See where the exhibit will be next!


How Placemaking Helped Us Heal

From the Main Street America Blog

In 2017, newly designated Main Street Wetumpka found purpose in the Tulotoma Snail Trail, its cultivating place project utilizing art to tell the history of its community. But while the project proved a useful tool in its revitalization efforts from the start, the true test of its success came after an EF-2 tornado touched down and devastated its community.


The Indiana Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission was established by the Indiana General Assembly to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment next year. The Commission is organizing activities and events to celebrate this centennial anniversary. Check out the new website, which houses resources, recent news and upcoming events. 

All local communities and organizations across the state are encouraged to commemorate the centennial anniversary of women’s right to vote. If your community or organization would like included on the master events calendar, please email this address. The Commission looks forward to celebrating this important anniversary in the months to come!

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