Main Street Monthly - October

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Main Street Monthly

A monthly publication from the Office of Community and Rural Affairs

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IMS rollout

Big Indiana Main Street news is coming in November

OCRA will soon announce and detail changes to the Indiana Main Street program. A press release will be sent on Monday, Nov. 9 followed by two webinars to provide more information and answer all your questions.

The informational overview webinar will be held at 10 a.m. ET on Thursday, Nov. 12. Click to register for this webinar.

A FAQ webinar to help answer all lingering questions will be held at 9 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 13. Click to register for this webinar.

Both webinars will be recorded and posted on our website for review following their completions. If you have any questions about these webinars, contact Jackie Swihart or Abby Chapman.

Small business map

OCRA's Small Business Directory is live on our website

Have you checked out the new Small Business Saturday Map? Continue to submit the small businesses you wish to highlight by completing this online form and placing them into reference categories. Once they are submitted, our team will build them into a Google Map. This map will be featured on our website and social media accounts to encourage people to shop small.

Small businesses may also join the Hartford’s Small Business Directory. The Hartford knows that it's more important than ever to connect communities with their local businesses. That's why it created a small business directory to encourage people across the country to shop locally. Customers can search by ZIP code and business type to get connected. Joining their directory is fast, easy and free. Small business owners can sign up here.

Lastly, here’s more info on American Express’ Shop Small Saturday initiatives: click here.

Free small business webinars hosted by Indiana SBDC

The Indiana Small Business Development Center (Indiana SBDC) is hosting no-cost, weekly webinars every Friday from noon to 1 p.m. ET to share stories of business resiliency, and recovery resources and information. Hoosier small business owners are facing unprecedented challenges this year, and it’s more important now than ever to learn how businesses can be resilient and weather the challenges we’re facing today. In October, the series will cover HR topics including remote employee management, mental health for employees, and hiring during a pandemic. To receive monthly updates on the series, sign up for the series newsletter here:


Second round of HartBeat Main Street Grant program opens this week

The second round of the HartBeat of Main Street Grant Program opens on Noon ET on Thursday, Oct. 22. In partnership with The Hartford, the program will continue to fund solutions that help small business owners respond and adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, and also help to revitalize and strengthen older and historic downtown commercial districts. A few important things to include:

  • Applications open on Oct. 22 and must be submitted by Thursday, Oct. 29 at 7:59 p.m. ET;
  • A link to the application will be posted on our program webpage as soon as the application opens;
  • All Round 1 grant applicants have been notified about the status of their submissions;
  • Please review the program website and FAQ before completing an application.

New grant program to promote walkability and health

Community Change

The 2020 Community Change Grant is funding projects that increase physical activity, walkability, and demonstrate a culture of inclusive health and design.

America Walks and Health Nations partners announced another round of the Community Change Grant program. This program will award $1,500 in community stipends for projects related to creating healthy, active, and engaged places to live, work and play.

Funded projects must demonstrate that they will show increased physical activity and active transportation in a specific community, work to engage people and organizations new to the efforts of walking and walkability, and demonstrate a culture of inclusive health and design. Projects will create healthy, active, and engaged communities that support walking as transportation, health, and recreation.

Applications are due through the submission of this form by  5 p.m. ET on November 9. Awardees will be notified in December 2020. Funds must be used in the 2021 calendar year.

Dekalb Courthouse

DeKalb County Courthouse gets highlighted in national blog post

Every year, Americans gather to perform what is perhaps our most important act of civic duty—casting ballots for elected officials and important issues of our day.

National Trust for Historic Preservation highlighted the historical structures as places to cast your ballot in a recent blog post - Considering the History Behind Your Polling Place. Not only is the beautiful 1914 courthouse mentioned but also our Northeast Community Liaison, Andrea Kern, as she describes not only voting at the location but also she works annually as a poll worker.

Take this short survey about Farmers Markets and COVID-19

A new survey from Farmers Market Coalition aims to understand the effects of COVID-19 on farmers markets this past season. Please encourage local farmers markets to share their experience with the Coalition and other farmers market stakeholders here.

Important Dates

Monday, Nov. 5 − Indiana Main Street Council virtual meeting

Monday, Nov. 9
− Indiana Main Street announcement

Thursday, Nov. 12 − Indiana Main Street Program Improvement webinar

Friday, Nov. 13 − Indiana Main Street Program FAQ webinar

Mark your calendars for this upcoming training:"Virtual Work Plan Training with NMSC." on Dec.1 from Noon to 2 p.m.

Click here to view our full calendar.

Facebook group

Have you joined our Facebook group?

OCRA created this group to provide a place to share resources, uplifting stories and best practices for all Indiana Main Street organizations. Join the group today!

New toolkits now available

Is your Main Street and Chamber looking to merge? This guide has been compiled from Main Street America’s online networking platform, The Point. The following is not intended to serve as advice from OCRA or Indiana Main Street, but rather, from fellow Main Street professionals.

Crisis Communication: A crisis situation is rarely predictable, but it is extremely important to plan and strategize for a host of difficult scenarios, including how to communicate when issues arise. Use this toolkit to help identify, prepare for and handle a variety of different situations. 

Leadership Development Training with NMSC

On Oct. 27, from 2 to 4 p.m. ET join the Indiana Main Street team and Norma Miess, Director of Leadership Development at the National Main Street Center, on an interactive session about professional values in our Main Street work. This session is especially designed for paid staff (either full or part time) and will include topics like ethical conduct, conflict resolutions, role in advocacy and more.

New online training course

National Preservation Institute provides continuing education and professional training in historic preservation and cultural resource management. This week's course: 

Streetscape Design: Strategies for Historic Districts
Instructor: Paul Daniel Marriott, Ph.D.
75-minute, e-Learning,
cost: $100

Look for updates on training options at and on Facebook.

New quality of place guidebooks now available from Radius Indiana

Radius Indiana is introducing four brand-new Quality of Place Guidebooks to assist local leaders in learning some of the trends and best practices being used in cities and towns for quality of place improvements. The guides are intended to introduce audiences to topics that are current and timely as towns and cities seek to support and bring prosperity to their downtown hubs. The guides offer case studies, examples of success stories in communities in Indiana and throughout the United States, and step-by-step instructions on implementing some of the best-practice trends for rural living.

Indiana made the MSA blog

On August 26, the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment going into effect, three outstanding projects were announced. In this week's Main Spotlight, meet the winning communities and learn how Indiana Humanities and OCRA pivoted this fantastic centennial celebration in response to COVID. Read more about the project and grantees here.