The Northfield Downtown Development Corporation (NDDC) is evolving its identity and announces a rebranding as the Friends of Downtown Northfield.
Over the past year, the organization’s Board of Directors explored how the organization could adapt to better achieve its mission and vision, maintain Northfield’s Main Street America™ accreditation and Minnesota Main Street designation, and thrive as a nonprofit organization that advocates for Northfield’s downtown district.
In late 2021, a collaboration with the City of Northfield greatly strengthened support for Northfield’s Main Street program (previously staffed and managed solely by the NDDC): coordination of the operational elements of the program would sit in the Community Development department, while fundraising for and promotion of Downtown Northfield would sit with the Friends of Downtown Northfield as a stand-alone, but complementary organization.
“We’re excited for the new partnership with the City and the next chapter for our organization,” said Kathleen Holmes, Board President. “We are already seeing great benefits to the collaboration and believe that the next few years are going to be transformational for our beloved downtown. The challenges we face now are different from those faced when the organization began and the time was right for us to evolve all facets of the organization—operations, mission and vision, and brand—to best address them.”
The organization was founded in 2000, and since that time has seen great achievements in fostering the vitality and vibrancy of downtown Northfield—through various arts grants, business grants, design implementation and events. The Friends of Downtown Northfield are committed to continuing that rich history by sponsoring events like the popular summer series of Bridge Square Block Parties and supporting locally owned downtown businesses with micro-grants. The name change signifies a shift to a more broad-based and inclusive community support and love for our downtown district. Adds Holmes, “Who doesn’t want to be thought of as a friend of Downtown Northfield?”
The assistant City Planner, Revée Needham, coordinates the Main Street program, along with serving as staff liaison to the Heritage Preservation Commission. “I’m excited to work with the board and its volunteers to make progress on our shared goals of enhancing downtown,” said Needham. “Together, we will strengthen the connections between the different groups that focus on the design, promotion, and economic vitality of downtown Northfield.”
Northfield became an Accredited Main Street community in 2019. Main Street AmericaTM has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for more than 35 years. Today it is a network of more than 1,600 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
About the Friends of Downtown Northfield
The mission of the Friends of Downtown Northfield is to ensure a vibrant and vital downtown by amplifying the voice of downtown business owners, building owners and other stakeholders. We collaborate with the City of Northfield to use the Mainstreet Approach and fundamentals to accomplish this by focusing on local business issues, being intentional about downtown design, planning and promoting downtown events, and providing targeted fundraising support all for the purpose of driving visitors to the downtown area.
The Friends of Downtown Northfield invites you to follow us on social media (Facebook: @downtownnorthfield, Instagram: @downtownnorthfieldmn) to learn more about upcoming events and organizational updates, to volunteer, and to donate to the organization.