A national expert will visit Herkimer’s Main Street next month to assess how to revitalize the downtown area.
“This process is going to be a large step forward for us,” said Scott Petucci, a Herkimer Now Committee member, during a telephone interview on Thursday afternoon.
Teresa Lynch, a senior program officer with the Main Street Center of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, will conduct the assessment on Jan. 4 and 5, 2012.
The village will fund the assessment with a $5,500 grant from The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, with the village contributing $1,000 toward the cost.
“The assessment will provide us with an objective analysis of Main Street’s biggest needs,” said Mayor Mark Ainsworth in a news release, noting the Main Street Center has worked with over 2,000 communities across the country. “We’re hoping that the assessment will help us figure out what strategies we should pursue and what specific actions we should take to revitalize Main Street.”
The assessment will have four major objectives: to identify some of the commercial district’s major problems, opportunities and needs; to provide community members with information about the Main Street Center approach to commercial district revitalization; to determine best methods within the Main Street Center approach for the downtown district’s revitalization and to recommend a realistic, achievable course of action for the short term.
Petucci said Lynch will be “an unbiased person” who will help the committee and village to set up “action-oriented goals to move forward.”
Lynch is scheduled to arrive on Jan. 4, 2012, to tour the village and interview local officials, educators, members of community and cultural groups, Main Street business and property owners and village residents.
From 5:30 to 7 p.m., Lynch will deliver a community presentation to describe the Main Street Four Point Approach to downtown revitalization and discuss what she has observed about downtown Herkimer during a meeting at the Washburn Room of the Frank J. Basloe Library. The public is invited to attend and there will be a question and answer session at the end of the meeting.
“We want to generate interest with the village residents and let them know what’s going on,” said Petucci. “It’s got to be a collaborative effort.”
On Jan. 5, 2012, Lynch will meet with village officials and Herkimer Now Committee members to review the highlights of her findings and present “next steps” to move forward with the Assessment’s recommendations.
According to the news release, the Main Street program has, to date, generated over $51.1 billion in new downtown investment, with a net gain of over 436,909 new jobs and 99,508 new businesses.
For more information, visit www.mainstreet.org.