Kathy La Plante
Senior Main Street Program Officer
National Main Street Center, Inc.
408 Grandview Road
Pembroke, NH 03275
Kathy La Plante joined the National Trust Main Street Center (NTMSC) staff as a Program Officer in May of 2007. She has worked in the Main Street field since 1989. Ms. La Plante works with organizations throughout the U.S. and has primary contract responsibilities for the New Mexico; Oakland County, Michigan; Arkansas; Delaware; Virginia; Maryland; Wisconsin; and Oregon Main Street Programs. Prior to joining the NTMSC she served as the Director of the New Hampshire Main Street Center, from 1996 to 2007. She was responsible for initiating the New Hampshire statewide, nonprofit Main Street Program, and providing comprehensive downtown revitalization technical assistance to 23 designated communities. From 1989 to 1996, Ms. La Plante was the Executive Director of the Chippewa Falls (WI) Main Street Program. In 1996, under her direction, Chippewa Falls received the Great American Main Street Award, recognizing it as one of the top five downtown revitalization programs in the nation. As an independent consultant, Ms. La Plante has worked with communities in Arkansas, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, Vermont, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, and Maine. Prior to working in downtown revitalization, Ms. La Plante spent 12 years in retail management at Oakwood Pharmacy & Gifts in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and, 10 years as manager of Spurgeon’s Department Stores in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa.
National Main Street Center, Inc
National Trust for Historic Preservation
Senior Main Street Program Officer, 2007–Present
Responsibilities and accomplishments: Works with county and statewide Main Street programs. Manages, develops, and delivers technical assistance to small to mid-sized downtowns and urban neighborhood commercial districts. Areas of expertise include; program development and assessments, organizational development, staff and volunteer training, strategic planning, promotions, and fundraising.
Key projects include:
- Delivery of commercial district consulting services and training programs to Main Street programs in Arkansas, Oakland County Michigan, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Mexico, Wisconsin, and Oregon.
- Conducting program assessments and strategic planning services for local and statewide Main Street programs.
- Assisting in the development of new coordinating programs at the state, county, and regional levels in Oregon, the Western Erie Canal Main Street Program, and Worcester County Maryland.
- Coordinating activities and bi-annual meetings for state, regional, county and citywide Main Street coordinating programs.
New Hampshire Main Street Center
New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority
Concord, New Hampshire
Director, September 1996 to April 2007
Responsibilities and accomplishments:
- Initiated the statewide Main Street Program by developing guidelines, establishing policies and services, conducting extensive community outreach and public speaking engagements.
- Educated 23 designated communities on the Main Street Four-Point Approach. Facilitated community development of mission and vision statements, strategic planning sessions and work plan sessions.
- Coordinated numerous training sessions both statewide and in individual communities in all aspects of the Main Street Four-Point Approach.
- Worked on advocacy with partners throughout the state to initiate new legislation to benefit New Hampshire’s downtowns, specifically a tax relief bill that now allows for property owners of historic downtown buildings to apply for delayed tax increases for up to 13 years. (LSR 79E)
- Oversaw an annual operation budget of approximately $450,000, and four employees.
- Secured and administered a $450,000 HUD/EDI grant.
- Volunteer Roles: Board Member for the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund,
Member of the New Hampshire Travel and Tourism Advisory Committee (appointed by Governor John Lynch), and Member of the Executive Committee of State Main Street Coordinators
- Honors: Two New Hampshire Main Street Communities (Milford and Littleton) won Great American Main Street Awards; 2006 New Hampshire Preservation Alliance’s Achievement Awards for Outstanding Education, Advocacy, and Public Policy and Downtown Revitalization Excellence in Community Economic Development as a statewide Economic Development Organization, from Governor Jeanne Shaheen, December 1999, and the “Not-Your-Typical” Partner for Outstanding Community Development in the State of New Hampshire from Citizens Bank, October, 2001.
Responsibilities and service delivery: Provided consulting services to Main Street, non-Main Street and statewide Main Street communities and programs on downtown revitalization. Issues addressed and services provided included: resource team visits, program assessments, work plan development, board retreats, retail promotion planning, customer service workshops, conference speaking, special events and festival planning, and organizational topics. Clients included: Main Street Arkansas, Maine Development Foundation, the Vermont Downtown Program, Colorado Community Revitalization Association, Illinois Main Street, National Trust Main Street Center and dozens of individual communities.
Chippewa Falls Main Street, Inc.
Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
October 1989 to August 1996
Responsibilities and accomplishments:
- Developed strategies for downtown community/economic development. Worked with the board of directors and community to create an annual work plan focused on design, promotions, economic restructuring, and organization.
- Managed all administrative aspects of the program including development and management of the budget. Documented all physical changes and collected and recorded information on job creation and retention, volunteer development and management.
- Provided advice to property owners and tenants regarding building improvements.
- Developed and conducted public education programs through speaking engagements, media interviews, and engagement with community, civic organizations and municipal officials.
- In seven years as the Executive Director, over $42 million was reinvested in the Downtown. Forty-two new businesses opened, creating over 500 new jobs.
- Honors: 1996 Great American Main Street Award winner, numerous Wisconsin Main Street Awards received over seven years, 1995 Woman of Distinction “Women Building the Economy”, from the Indianhead Girl Scout Council.
Oakwood Pharmacy and Gifts
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Managed a retail gift store and pharmacy with a staff of 25 in an 8,000 square foot store. Purchased all gifts and soft lines. Purchased and designed print, radio, and television advertising.
Spurgeon’s Department Stores
Managed five department stores for a Chicago-based department store chain in Menomonie, Wisconsin; Hibbing, Minnesota; Winona, Minnesota; Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin; and Marshalltown, Iowa. Responsible for every aspect of department store management, which included; budgeting, bookkeeping, inventory, advertising, merchandising, purchasing, and staff management.
VOLUNTEER COMMUNITY SERVICE
Chippewa County United Way board member and Chair of the Board; Momentum Chippewa Valley – Board Chair, Duncan Creek Watershed Project Board of Advisors, Rotary, Kiwanis, Indianhead Girl Scout Council Board, Junior America Volunteer Teacher, DECA guest teacher, Wisconsin Downtown Action Council Board, Chippewa Valley Technical College Foundation Board, City of Chippewa Falls Redevelopment Authority Board, St. Joseph’s Hospital Community Advisory Committee, American Heart Association Board, Chippewa Falls Museum of Industry and Technology, Children at Risk Board Member (Chippewa Falls School District)
University of Wisconsin – Stout