National Main Street Program leaders are visiting Ashland next week to conduct a “Baseline Assessment” of the downtown district, and are encouraging participation from the community.
Ashland earned a Virginia Main Street Designation in June 2013, and the assessment will benchmark Ashland against other designated communities across the country.
In a letter to the Ashland Main Street Association, state and national program leaders noted that “the Baseline Assessment is an evaluative service usually conducted during the local program’s first year of operations. Its primary purpose is to introduce and explain the Main Street Approach to your community, to bring stakeholders together to share their perspectives and vision for downtown, and to review and assess the progress made toward establishing a local Main Street program. In addition, this visit is designed to assist your community in determining the best strategies to build a strong revitalization process.”
The assessment will be conducted Jan. 6-8 in various downtown locations, and consists of a series of meetings with local leaders and stakeholders. The assessment kicks off with a “Community Visioning Session” next Monday at 7 p.m. at the Firehouse Theater. The goal of the visioning session is to share perspectives on revitalization efforts and build consensus on the strengths and needs of downtown.
“It’s important to get a high-level of involvement from a wide variety of stakeholders,” explained Tom Wulf, executive director of the Ashland Main Street Association. “We’d like to hear from business and property owners, non-profit and church leaders, Randolph-Macon College faculty and staff, and the cultural arts community. Your input is critical to the success of this assessment, and we hope that you will join in as many of the sessions as your time and expertise permit,” Wulf said.
Tuesday, Jan. 7 downtown business and property owners are invited to meet at Ashland Coffee and Tea from 8-9 a.m. The meeting will be followed by a tour of the community and downtown district from 9-11 a.m. before a meeting with town and county officials.
Leaders from community groups and those working to promote and improve quality of life in the community are then invited to attend a meeting at Town Hall from 2:30-3:15 p.m. From 3:30-4:15 p.m., Main Street officials will meet with leaders from promotion and marketing related groups and commissions at town hall before they meet with leaders from other community groups such as the local schools, library, civic organizations and neighborhood associations from 4:30-5:15 p.m.
The Assessment will conclude on Wednesday, Jan. 6, with meetings of the Main Street board and its committees.
For more information, contact the Ashland Main Street Association at email@example.com.