Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

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January 7, 2013

MainStreet Greensburg to set 2013 agenda

Greensburg — In 2013, MainStreet Greensburg will keep its big wheels a-turning by holding the second Annual Fisher 5 Mile Adult Big Wheel Race.

MainStreet Greensburg Executive Director Bryan Robbins told the Daily News last week that 2012’s race was so much fun and such an unqualified success for the city’s GoGreenburg festivities, holding a 2013 edition is an easy decision.

“We hope to refine and expand the festivities this year to turn it into a great spring event for downtown,” Robbins said. “We’re projecting it to take place May 25 and hope it will also attract visitors attending that OTHER race.”

Robbins and the MainStreet Board of Directors has a great number of other activities they want to tackle in 2013. Before providing the Daily News with a preview, however, Robbins qualified that MainStreet’s 2013 agenda and budget have yet to be finalized or approved.

Approval, Robbins hopes, will come when the MainStreet Board meets later this month to discuss the group’s pending agenda, its budgetary needs and the MainStreet strategic plan.

“Parts of this agenda will be subject to change,” Robbins said.

The 2013 MainStreet Summer Farmers’ Market is tentatively slated to start May 10, Robbins said.

Unlike in 2013, food coupons through the government-funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will be accepted throughout the entire Summer Market, which ends in October.

“We encourage the entire community to come down each Friday from 2 to 6 p.m.,” Robbins said, “to support our local farmers and food producers.”

The market will be complimented each second Friday of the month by the Second Friday Summer Movie Series, with films to be announced.

“The market and the movies are two more reasons to head to the City Center from May to October, for a great family evening,” Robbins added.

Robbins also expects to hold another successful Downtown Holiday Walk in 2013.

“We want to continue growing the Christmas Parade and involve persons of all ages,” he said. “That includes developing greater incentives for shopping locally during the holiday season, adding additional events throughout the month, and adding to the downtown decor.”

MainStreet also has a handful of ongoing construction and renovation projects Robbins and the Board hope to continue pursuing in 2013.

“Our downtown has always had great potential for quality upper-story housing,” the executive director said. “We hope that, by continuing our work with local developers, and with City and County government, we can help attract greater investment in living spaces in the district. The more residents we attract, the more businesses can flourish, and we want to make that happen.”

He continued, “We currently working on a project that focuses on long-vacant buildings downtown. If successful, that project stands to not only transform the respective areas, but also inspire others to see what can be accomplished. Our job has been and will continue to be in 2013 to help facilitate such projects.”

Robbins and the Board also hope to continue the renovation of the city’s Downtown Square in 2013.

“We have three sides to go,” he said. “and MainStreet will work closely with the City, County and outside entities to help complete the project. We’ve received great compliments from both visitors and locals alike on the Broadway renovations, and many are excited to see the rest of the square transformed in the same manner.”

To help raise funds for such projects, MainStreet will again sell streetscape benches in 2013.

“Each bench may be dedicated to a loved one, organization, or business,” Robbins said. “Anyone interested is welcome to call 812-593-4207 for more information.”

MainStreet also intends to increase its number of cooperative projects in 2013, Robbins said, to help “lessen the cost and workload” of otherwise financially unsustainable events.

“We’ve already have successful team-ups with organizations such as the Arts and Cultural Council, Historical Society and Chamber — to name a few,” he added, “and we look forward to even more creative projects with new partners in 2013.”

Robbins the Board aim to continue working closely in 2013 with similar organizations in the Economic Development field.

“We’ve had great success in establishing loan programs and grant funds to attract businesses to the district,” he explained. “In 2013, we’ll be looking to not only expand those programs, but also to better advertise them as a means of business recruitment.”

The executive director characterized communication as one of the main focuses of the current MainStreet strategic plan.

“We did many great programs, events and projects in 2012,” he said, “but we were deficient in properly promoting them.”

“Our Facebook page (MainStreet Greensburg),” he continued, “has been successful in helping spreading the word, but in 2013, we plan to better utilize technology to reach even more people.”

To help facilitate that increased public awareness of MainStreet events, the group, Robbins explained, plans to revamp its website, join Twitter and, possibly, offer text-message announcements to people who want such reminders.

“The great question these days,” he said, “is how one reaches a population that is so diverse in its means of getting information, and the answer, essentially, is to be diverse yourself.”

MainStreet won’t lose focus of its fundamental goal of promoting downtown business in 2013, either, Robbins added.

“In 2013, we’ll be looking into collective advertising, money bombs and other creative campaigns to help draw consumers’ attention toward the great independent shops and services we have downtown,” he said.  

Of course, Robbins has no intention of leaving the city and county out of such promotional efforts, either.

“Working with many other entities,” Robbins explained, “MainStreet would like to be a promoter of establishing a community brand for the area. If we want to grow on our terms, and in a way that’s best for us, we as a community need to be able to tell our story and showcase our qualities, rather than have someone else do it for us.  Branding goes beyond simple marketing and mottos — it’s the feeling about your community that you want to evoke within the community, as well as with others unfamiliar with the area. We need to help shape impressions.          

Contact: Rob Cox at 812-663-3111 x7011.

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