The Friends of Downtown Northfield has again been designated as an Accredited Main Street America™ program for meeting rigorous performance standards. Each year, Main Street America and its partners announce the list of Accredited programs to recognize those programs’ exceptional commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization through the Main Street Approach™.
“We are very proud to acknowledge this year’s 862 Accredited Main Street America programs, and their steadfast dedication to nurture economically and culturally vibrant downtown districts,” said Hannah White, Interim President & CEO of Main Street America. “The increase in the size and impact of our network speaks volumes to the power of the Main Street movement to respond to the needs of local communities and drive innovative solutions.”
Christopher Tassava, president of the board of the Friends of Downtown Northfield, said, “I am thrilled that the Friends have been reaccredited! It’s great to see that Main Street America has once again recognized the efforts of the organization and our allies and partners all around Northfield to help maintain a vibrant downtown.”
The Friends of Downtown Northfield’s performance is annually evaluated by Rethos, a Minnesota-based organization which works in partnership with Main Street America to identify local programs that meet rigorous national performance standards. To qualify for Accreditation status, communities like Northfield must meet a set of standards that include commitments to building grassroots revitalization programs, fostering strong public-private partnerships, nurturing economic opportunity for small businesses and entrepreneurs, and actively preserving historic places, spaces, and cultural assets.
During the past year, the Friends have formed a partnership with Riverwalk Market Fair to combine the Bridge Square Block Party series and the Saturday Riverwalk Market Fair into a new event, now known as Third Thursdays Downtown. The event features live music, specials from downtown shops and restaurants, family fun activities, and the mix of fine art, crafts, cottage foods, and farmers market that makes Riverwalk notable. Additionally, the Friends relaunched the Artists on Main Street program, which will take place over the summer of 2023 and create new public art works throughout the downtown area.
In 2022, Main Street America programs generated $6.2 billion in local reinvestment, helped open 7,657 net new businesses, facilitated the creation of 29,174 net new jobs, catalyzed the rehabilitation of 10,688 historic buildings, and leveraged 1,528,535 volunteer hours. On average, for every dollar that a Main Street program spent to support their operations, it generated $24.07 of new investment back into their downtown communities.
Collectively, 2 million people live or work within the boundaries of designated Main Street America districts. An estimated workforce of 1.1 million people contributes their skills and expertise to advancing the missions of these historic downtowns and commercial corridors.