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Ashland Main Street accredited as a national program

Posted on Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at 5:46 pm

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The Ashland Main Street Association has been designated as an accredited National Main Street Program for meeting commercial district revitalization performance standards.

The organization’s performance is annually evaluated by The Virginia Main Street Program, which works in partnership with the National Main Street Center to identify the local programs that meet 10 performance standards. These standards set the benchmarks for measuring an individual Main Street program’s application of the Main Street Four Point Approach to commercial district revitalization. Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, securing an operating budget, tracking programmatic progress and actively preserving historic buildings.

“We appreciate the Virginia Main Street Program helping us achieve this distinction,” said Tom Wulf, executive director of the Ashland Main Street Association.  “We’re excited about all of the recent improvements in downtown Ashland, including the terrific new streetscaping enhancements.  We are poised to make even greater contributions in the next year.”

Wulf said Ashland Main Street’s priorities include procuring a feasibility study grant for the renovating and reopening the Ashland Theatre, initiating a public art program, and partnering with the Ashland Garden Club on a beautification project at the Visitor’s Center.  Main Street is also working with the town, the Market Ashland Partnership, Randolph-Macon College, and Hanover County Economic Development on new marketing strategies for Ashland and Hanover.

Wulf also announced the new officers of the Ashland Main Street Association, elected by the board of directors at its June 24 meeting: Hugh Joyce, president; Jennifer Chambers, vice president; Darrell Leftwich, treasurer; and Ashley Neville, secretary.

Wulf recognized the efforts of two directors rotating off the board.

“Lauren Thompson was our longest-serving board member with more than seven years, and made significant contributions as chair of our Design Committee,” Wulf said.  “As vice-president and chair of our Organization Committee, Patricia Morris did much to strengthen our non-profit legal status and our compliance standards.  I’d also like to thank our outgoing president, Nancy Cozart, for two years of great leadership.”

Cozart will continue to serve as a director. The board also voted in two new directors at the meeting. Ashland residents Dan Bartges and Jack Zemp began their three-year terms July 1.

The mission of the Ashland Main Street Association is to preserve, enhance, and promote downtown Ashland through cooperative efforts among local businesses, community organizations, Randolph-Macon College and the Town.

Its vision is to make Ashland a “destination location” by offering a diverse mix of businesses, cultural and community attractions, pedestrian-friendly streets, and attractive public spaces. The organization earned Ashland a Virginia Main Street designation in June 2013.