All posts by Revee Needham

Friends of Downtown Northfield Receives 2023 Main Street America Accreditation

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. 

Learn more about Main Street America.

Third Thursdays Downtown

Thank you all for joining us at our first Third Thursday Downtown event of the summer in May! Our next event will be on June 15 with a performance by the Northfield Community Band. We’ll have family-friendly activities, Riverwalk Market Fair vendors,  the Northfield Public Library bookmobile, craft beverages, and more!

There is still room for a few more vendors, if you are interested, contact the Riverwalk Market Managers to sign up!

Preservation Month!

May is Preservation Month! We love our historic downtown district and buildings, which makes Northfield such a special place. This year’s theme is People Saving Places. Historic
place-savers like you pour their time, energy, and resources into protecting places they care about, often without recognition. The 2023 Preservation Month theme of “People Saving Places” is a national high-five to everyone doing the great work of saving places—in ways big and small—and inspiring others to do the same!

To celebrate, the City of Northfield created two videos for Preservation Month. These videos also highlight two of the Friends of Downtown Northfield board members! Thank you to Aaron and Cody and all those who are stewards of our historic buildings.


This May also brings good news as the Minnesota House of Representatives and Senate have each passed an Omnibus Taxes bill that includes the reinstatement and extension of the state Historic Structure Rehabilitation Tax Credit! The final bill makes the HTC retroactive to the previous sunset date and extends it until June 30, 2030. The next stop is Gov. Tim Walz’s desk, where he is expected to sign it.

Thank you to everyone, especially the RevitalizeMN folks, for advocating so tirelessly for the historic tax credit.

Public Art Opportunities in Northfield this summer!

This summer there are two exciting opportunities for artists and aspiring artists in Northfield.

Artists on Main Street

For the fourth year, we are thrilled to announce another Artists on Main Street program. This year’s theme is Meet Me at the River and artists are eligible for up to $5,000 in funding. Artists of all types are welcome – painters, sculptors, musicians, dancers, and more! Learn more online about the full program guidelines. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund and residents of the City of Northfield through the Percent for the Arts Initiative.


Hispanic Heritage Celebration Banners

The Northfield Arts and Culture Commission, in partnership with the Friends of Downtown Northfield, is hosting a competition for artists to design a new downtown banner in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. The banners will be displayed on light poles along Division Street in time for Northfield’s sixth annual Hispanic Heritage Celebration on September 15, remaining for all of Hispanic Heritage Month and into November. Learn more about the full guidelines online. 


Applications for both opportunities will be closing on June 23, 2023.

Listen to Assistant City Planner Revee Needham, Library Director Natalie Draper, and Mayor Rhonda Pownell speak about these opportunities on KYMN. 

Springboard for the Arts Rural Regenerator Fellowship

Springboard for the Arts is currently accepting applications for the 2023-25 Rural Regenerator Fellowship! Applications will remain open until midnight Central Time on Tuesday, June 20.

The fellowship offers a comprehensive two-year program that connects rural artists, makers, culture bearers and organizers across the Midwest, sharing opportunities for peer learning and exchange. Each fellow will also receive a $10,000 unrestricted stipend in support of their work.

For this year’s cycle, 12 Fellows will be selected from rural communities across the Upper Midwest (Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, and the Native Nations that serve those geographies).

Fellows will be selected based on their demonstrated commitment and passion for rural art, culture and creativity, their interest in exchanging ideas and learning with other Fellows, and their vision and ideas for the future of rural places.

People who are Black, Indigenous, Native, People of Color, LGBTQIA2+, and/or people with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply, and will be prioritized in the selection process. Learn more and apply below. We’re looking forward to meeting you and your work!

Learn more and apply for the fellowship.