The news that Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street had received designation as an accredited National Main Street community was met with enthusiasm by those that worked toward the distinction as well as those involved with the DLSMS organization.
DLSMS was awarded for meeting the commercial district revitalization performance standards set by the National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Each year, the National Main Street Center announces the national list of accredited Main Street programs that have built strong revitalization organizations and demonstrated their ability in using the Main Street Four-Point Approach methodology for strengthening the local economy and protecting historic buildings.
When this year’s list was recently revealed, DLSMS was included in the group.
“Our accreditation shows that our staff, our board, our volunteers and our businesses and merchants are continuing to do the things that they need to do to keep our downtown thriving and vibrant,” DLSMS’s executive director Trisha Drape said. “It benefits the community because they can rest assure that we are doing what we need to do to have a healthy economy in our downtown district. It shows our partners (such as the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce, the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council and the City of Lee’s Summit) that we are staying on the same level of professionalism as they are.”
“I think it’s great that we have the property owners and the business owners that try to work together they best they can,” added DLSMS board member Christine Bushyhead, who is also chair of the group’s Organization Committee. “When you’re trying to marry a whole bunch of interests, I think everyone has done a great job of taking care of their business and doing what they can to send the whole downtown community forward as well.”
Following the accreditation review, Normoa Ramirez de Miess, senior program officer for the National Main Street Center, said: “We are pleased to see how downtown Lee’s Summit has proactively addressed planning, built partnerships with the city and other civic groups and continued to expand its leadership base to be an effective instrument for implementing a comprehensive revitalization strategy.”
Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street is evaluated annually by Missouri Main Street Connection, which works in partnership with the National Main Street Center to identify the local programs that meet 10 performance standards.
The standards set the benchmarks for measuring an individual program’s application of the 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, tracking economic progress, preserving historic buildings and more.
DLSMS met both the national and state accredited-level criteria, which is the highest designation level in the Missouri Main Street connection program.
Drape, who participated in a conference March 25 in the northwest Missouri town of Albany, said the distinction also adds a layer of authority and ambassadorship to DLSMS.
“I am just coming back from the northwest corner of Missouri and there were several small communities there and those communities want to become Main Street communities,” she said. “When we get accredited and we’ve learned from our mistakes and learned from our successes, we can share those with all these other downtowns and Main Streets in Missouri. It benefits all of Missouri if all of our downtowns are revitalized and healthy.”