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August 13, 2014

Rochester earns ninth accreditation from National Main Street Center

By Mary Beth Almond
C & G Staff Writer

ROCHESTER — Rochester is among 10 downtown communities in Oakland County that recently received national accreditation from the National Main Street Center in Chicago.

All 10 of this year’s accredited downtown communities — which also include Clawson, Farmington, Ferndale, Franklin, Highland, Holly, Lake Orion, Ortonville and Pontiac — achieved perfect 10-out-of-10 scores during their annual year-end evaluation by representatives of the Main Street Oakland County program.

To be accredited, the Main Street communities must go through a 10-point process. The local Main Street programs must have broad-based community support for the commercial district revitalization process; develop vision and mission statements relevant to community conditions and to the local Main Street program’s organizational stage; have a comprehensive work plan; possess a historic preservation ethic; have an active board of directors and committees; have an adequate operating budget; have a paid professional program manager; conduct a program of ongoing training for staff and volunteers; report key statistics; and be a current member of the National Trust Main Street Network.

Rochester Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Kristi Trevarrow said Rochester has been in the county’s Main Street program since its inception, noting that it was one of the first three communities to join.

“The opportunity to actually have formal training and technical services and resources from the national level was extremely attractive us — as well as many communities — so we applied the first year, and we were accepted. It has been a great decision for us, because I think we were always doing good work here in Rochester, but it formalizes it. It gives us more of a structure and a baseline to go on. Plus, every year, along with the accreditation, we also get a report back from whichever consultant they bring in. It’s always nice to have a fresh set of eyes on what you do, because other people see things a little bit differently than what we see,” she said.

This is the ninth consecutive time Rochester has achieved national accreditation.

“When we get accredited each year, to me, it feels like it’s just validating that, yes, we are doing what we are supposed to do and continuing to improve,” Trevarrow said.

Seven of the Oakland County communities were each given special recognition for receiving perfect scores for at least five years. Along with Rochester, Ferndale achieved the honor for nine years, Lake Orion and Ortonville have been accredited for eight years, Farmington for seven years, and Holly and Highland for five years.

“Congratulations to the 10 communities who have been accredited by the National Main Street Center and especially to the leadership of those communities for having the foresight to see the benefits of membership in Main Street Oakland County,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said in a statement. “You can drive through the county and see the obvious benefits to our downtowns. It’s a tremendous program.”

Oakland County was the first county in the United States to operate a full-service countywide Main Street program, according to Patterson. The county program began in 2000, and Patterson said Main Street communities have generated more than $650 million in public and private investment, and created more than 6,600 jobs and more than new 870 businesses since then.

There are currently 19 downtowns in the Main Street program, including Clawson, Farmington, Ferndale, Franklin, Highland, Holly, Lake Orion, Ortonville, Oxford, Pontiac, Rochester, Walled Lake, Birmingham, Clarkston, Lathrup Village, Leonard, Oak Park, Waterford and Wixom.

“My goal is to bring many more communities into the fold as soon as possible. I want all the downtowns to enjoy the benefits we see now in Ferndale, Holly, Oxford and all the Main Street communities,” Patterson said in a statement.

For more information, visit MainStreetOaklandCounty.com.