Main Streets Conference 2012

Concurrent Educational Sessions: Tuesday, April 3: 10:30-11:45 a.m.

 Building An Effective Online Community Strategy

When it comes to using social media, do you have a successful online engagement strategy? You need to find out where your community congregates online, get them talking, and foster loyalty. Tricks of the trade start with emphasizing listening over talking at people and facilitating dialogs people actually want to have. Learn ways to leverage digital tools and tried-and-true methods to create a deeper, richer experience for businesses and the communities they serve.

Learning Objectives:
  • Know how to determine which social media tools are right for the organization
  • Identify four tips for effective online community engagement
  • Identify examples of sustainable online community engagement
  • Have a better understanding of what tools are useful for accomplishing goals
Andre Natta, CMSM, Urban Conversations

 Building Strong Relationships: How to Help Your Local Officials Say Yes

Fiscal challenges and competition for limited resources can shake the support and confidence of one of your essential partners: local government. Your program needs to align Main Street efforts with the interests of the town or city council. You also need to justify local government investment in your program and engage in the budgeting process. Hear from two local elected officials who champion Main Street. Find out what they need from you so they can say “yes” to Main Street revitalization.

Learning Objectives:
  • Identify the characteristics of partnerships that work
  • Justify local government investment in a Main Street program
  • Make a local Main Street program accountable to local government expectations
  • Foster a mutually beneficial relationship
Kyle H. Meyer, Virginia Main Street; Eddie Bumbaugh, Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance; Julie Markowitz, Staunton Downtown Development Association; Bruce Elder, City of Staunton; Kai Degner, City of Harrisonburg

 The Public Realm and Forgotten Spaces as a Framework for Revitalization

The parks, open spaces, and streets of the public realm are the foundation for great districts, and even the in-between spaces, like alleyways, are unique economic development opportunities. Learn how to accomplish this through a flexible framework, which includes focusing on small steps that can be implemented quickly and balancing preservation with contemporary issues.  Also hear how Seattle’s Pioneer Square turned alleys into attractive greenways for a variety of community events and how a diverse group of stakeholders turned “unusable” spaces into assets. CM | 1.25

Learning Objectives:
  • Good public space makes good economic sense and is critical for a vibrant downtown or district 
  • Find unique solutions to public space issues by establishing a framework that allows for flexibility by looking at options -not locking into one idea
  • Can't depend only on "the big ideas"...need to identify and focus on the little things that can happen quickly
  • Balancing preservation with contemporary urban issues
Lisa Dixon, Liz Stenning, The Alliance for Pioneer Square; Tom McGilloway, ASLA, Mahan Rykiel Associates, Inc; Nan Rohrer, Downtown Partnership of Baltimore