Eighty-two Kentucky communities were honored as newly certified Kentucky Main Street/Renaissance on Main communities during a ceremony Wednesday, May 31, at the Cathedral of the Assumption in Louisville.
Kentucky Poet Laureate Dr. Sena Jeter Naslund opened the program with a commentary about the meaning of "sense of place".
Administered by the Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office, the Kentucky Main Street Program is the oldest statewide downtown revitalization program in the nation, whose goal in partnership with Renaissance on Main is to encourage downtown revitalization, public-private partnerships and economic development within the context of historic preservation. New in 2006, communities are no longer ranked for approval as either Certified I or II; instead, cities must re-qualify each year for Certified City status. All incorporated cities within the Commonwealth of Kentucky are eligible to submit a pre-application, and unincorporated cities are eligible for consideration if sponsored by county government.
Certification demonstrates that Kentucky Main Street/Renaissance on Main programs in these communities meet certification criteria outlined through developing and implementing successful projects in design, economic development, organization and promotion, the four-point approach developed by the National Main Street Center of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Certification also makes these communities eligible to apply for $2 million in annual funding through Renaissance on Main, administered by the Governor's Office for Local Development (GOLD). Funding can be used to restore buildings, renovate sidewalks, match federal Transportation Enhancement funds for streetscape projects, restore historic building facades and for other projects whose goal is to improve the local downtown and attract and retain businesses.
In 2005, Kentucky Main Street and Renaissance on Main programs reported nearly $142 million invested in downtowns, representing 2,296 new jobs created in Main Street districts, 381 new businesses and the rehabilitation of 293 downtown buildings. This figure includes public improvement projects totaling $35,931,521, private investment projects of $47,624,228 and new construction projects of $58,405,338. In fact through this program over the last 27 years, more than $2 billion has been reinvested in Kentucky downtowns.
"This is not just an application process but an involved program that demonstrates and recognizes a community's commitment to downtown revitalization," said Becky Gorman, Kentucky Main Street state coordinator. "Also, being a certified city is not just the responsibility of the local Main Street or Renaissance manager. Each program is supervised by a board and committee structure focused on each of the four Main Street points, so this shows the depth of grassroots support that is required."
From left, Renee Alexander, executive director of Renaissance on Main; Patty Kennard, Vanceburg Renaissance Coordinator; David Morgan, Kentucky Heritage Council executive director and state historic preservation officer; and Lindy Casebier, executive director of Arts and Cultural Heritage, Kentucky Commerce Cabinet.
Community Main Street/Renaissance on Main programs recognized during Wednesday's ceremony were Ashland, Augusta, Barbourville, Bardstown, Beattyville, Bellevue, Bowling Green, Cadiz, Calhoun, Campbellsville, Campton, Carrollton,
Cloverport, Covington, Cumberland/Benham/Lynch*, Cynthiana, Danville, Dawson Springs, Dayton, Elizabethtown, Elkton/Guthrie/Trenton*, Elsmere/Erlanger*, Eminence, Falmouth, Flemingsburg, Frankfort, Franklin, Fort Thomas, Georgetown, Glasgow, Grayson. Greensburg, Harlan, Harrodsburg, Henderson,
Hindman, Hodgenville, Hopkinsville, Horse Cave, Irvine, Irvington, Jeffersontown, LaGrange, Lawrenceburg, Lebanon, London, Louisville, Ludlow, Madisonville, Marion, Mayfield, Maysville, Midway, Morehead, Morganfield, Mt. Sterling, Mt. Vernon, Munfordville, Murray, New Castle, Newport, Nicholasville, Olive Hill, Paducah, Paris, Pikeville, Princeton, Richmond, Russellville, Salyersville, Scottsville, Shelbyville, Springfield, Stanford, Vanceburg, Versailles, Warsaw, Williamsburg, Williamstown, Wilmore and Winchester.
Following the certificate presentations, Heritage Council Restoration Project Manager Scot Walters and Louisville developer Bill Weyland of City Properties Group, LLC, gave an overview of the new Kentucky Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program administered by the Heritage Council. Weyland also discussed historic preservation projects he has initiated in Louisville, including Glassworks, and gave a tour of one of his current projects, the YWCA redevelopment.
For more information, call Kentucky Main Street Coordinator Becky Gorman at the Kentucky Heritage Council, 502-564-7005, ext. 146, or email
*Communities with cities combined under one Kentucky Main Street/Renaissance on Main program.