Action Brown County becomes a member of Illinois Main Street Network

Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 6:18 PM CDT
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MOUNT STERLING, Ill. (WGEM) - Two organizations are coming together to help make Brown County better. Action Brown County now has membership to the Illinois Main Street network. It’s a statewide hub to help enhance downtown Mount Sterling’s economic drive.

ABC’s executive director, Alex Geisler, said the $2,000 annual membership is worth it for the buffet of resources it offers. Including easy access to networking, specialized training, and over looked grant opportunities for Mount Sterling’s downtown development.

“I think the thing we’re most looking forward to is networking with other directors across the state,” Geisler said. “That have very similar challenges, and very similar reasons for pursuing Illinois Main Street.”

Geisler said the first step, set to take place in the fall, is to use Illinois Main Street’s resources for a strategic planning session.

“They call it transformation strategies,” Geisler said. “What strategic plan has been done in the past and what strategic plan do we want moving forward.”

City administrator Vada Yingling said while city officials are still learning about Illinois Main Street, they already have ideas on which developments the downtown could benefit from most.

“We do have some building stock,” Yingling said. “And that building stock could be used for public use, commercial use.”

Geisler said the knowledge they obtain will be transferred to other Brown County communities for their growth.

“We’re trying to be super intentional about making sure that everybody gets the same amount of time and effort for the whole county,” said Geisler.

Geisler said soon other board members will get one-on-one training with Illinois Main Street consultants.

According to the Illinois Main Street (IMS) website, they work with communities across the state to foster local economic development and enhance the overall quality of life for 25 years.

The program has collected about $1.2 billion in public and private reinvestment, added over 11,000 jobs, created 2,300 new businesses and rehabilitated 1,100 buildings since 1992.

IMS helped to provide hands-on training, statewide workshops, networking opportunities and access to resources of community organizations to revitalize the historic commercial districts.

Visit their home page here to read and learn more about Illinois Main Street.

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