Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Main Street Lehigh Valley Foundation

One of the best things that we do at this Chamber is run our Main Street Lehigh Valley Foundation.  I'd call it our best kept secret, since many are familiar with the programs that it actually operates but not the Foundation itself, and this is absolutely something worth talking about.

The Main Street Lehigh Valley Foundation is a foundation that seeks to raise money to be reinvested in programs and physical improvements in the urban core of the Lehigh Valley.  It raises the money from private and public partners, of which there are several.

The Foundation itself runs a grant program and two Main Street programs:

Community Improvement Grants (CIG):  Operating on a bi-annual basis, the CIG program provides matching grants of up to $2,000 for streetscape improvement, events, urban planning and promotional efforts.  A 50% match is required, ensuring that a grant recipient has multiple partners committed to the success of a project.  To date, 101 grants have been awarded, totaling more than $192,000 in funding that has leveraged an additional $4,300,000 in other funding.  For more information on the grants awarded, see the attached document.  We just made our 5th grant awards and will announce those shortly.

Borough Business Revitalization Program:  The Borough Business Revitalization Program (BBRP) is a regional Main Street program that seeks to revitalize the downtowns of the seven participating Boroughs (Alburtis, Bangor, Bath, Catasauqua Coopersburg, Hellertown and Pen Argyl).   This is a bottom-up program whereby volunteers, elected officials, business and property owners work together to outline the goals of their program and execute projects that fit the need of each participating community.  The coordinator provides technical support, access to resources, and helps to coordinate the volunteer efforts and assist municipal staff.  The program specifically works in five areas:
Improving the physical appearance of each downtown.
Recruiting more businesses while assisting already existing ones.
Promoting each community as a great place to live, work and play.
Ensuring that each community is safe, clean and green.
Creating a sustainable board that can manage the program years into the future.

Hamilton District Main Street Program (HDMSP):  The HDMSP operates in downtown Allentown, from 5th to 12th street, Walnut to Linden Streets.  The HDMSP seeks to revitalize downtown Allentown and concentrates specifically in the areas of Marketing, Asset Development, Design, Safe, Clean & Green and Organizational Development.  Like the BBRP, the HDMSP consists of volunteers, elected officials and local business and property owners that are working towards the revitalization of downtown Allentown.

Check out the video below for more info on the Foundation:

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