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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

High-Five for Historic Preservation and Sustainability

May 05, 2009 09:10PM
The 2009 National Main Streets Conference shouted out the good news: Despite tough economic challenges, America’s historic commercial districts are holding on, and even thriving.

Doug Loescher, director of National Trust Main Street Center, shared the results of the organization’s latest survey, showing that 27 percent of Main Street districts—communities with preservation-based economic development programs in place—are not reporting severe negative effects from the challenging national economy. In many communities, business openings seem to be outpacing closings by two to one. Coordinated “Buy Local” campaigns also are working.

This year’s American Main Street awards went to Green Bay, Wisconsin; El Dorado, Arkansas; Baltimore, Maryland; Livermore, California; and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Honorees also included Aledo, Illinois; Toccoa, Georgia; Oberlin, Ohio; Fairmont, West Virginia; and Rochester, Michigan.

Main Streets are at the heart of key current trends related to investing in local assets: rehabilitating older and historic buildings; bolstering local businesses; and building public and private partnerships. Healthy Main Streets present a living, working textbook of principles at the heart of economic and environmental sustainability.

Sources: NationalTrust.org and MainStreet.org

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