Jacksonville already was in the spotlight this week as host of Illinois Main Street’s annual conference.
Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton’s visit as moderator of a conference panel on “The Power of Main Street” did nothing to dim the wattage.
“What a gorgeous day here in Jacksonville,” Stratton said during her visit. “I had a wonderful opportunity since I’ve been here today to — and it’s not my first time here — but I was able to get to a few places and picked up a couple of books at Our Town Books and then I had to, of course, stop for a wonderful lunch at Shiraz … then I went next door to Holly Cakes and picked up a cupcake. Things are really hopping here in Jacksonville.”
The conference, with activities split between Jacksonville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and Hamilton’s, has drawn representatives from Main Street organizations across the state. Activities started Wednesday and wrap up today.
Main Street organizations work to revitalize older and historic commercial districts in their communities. Stratton’s office and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity helped sponsor the conference.
During Stratton’s panel discussion, she commended Main Streets organizations in Illinois for how they have “paved the way to revitalize our main streets.”
Stratton, recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic placed a lot of strain on small businesses statewide, said she was happy to see the return of the Illinois Main Street conference. The conversation among advocates of main streets in towns across the state is necessary to boosting local commerce, she said.
“The return of this conference is pivotal to the growth of our Main Street communities in Illinois that have suffered due to the pandemic,” Stratton said. “The dialogue and workshops will provide a wonderful opportunity to continue to embrace our main streets, with their unique businesses, extraordinary geography and amazing histories. The Illinois Main Street program has positively impacted communities in so many ways.”
Stratton also announced that the state Main Street program would see increased state funding, which had dwindled in recent years.
“Illinois Main Street deserves our support to do even more so, for the first time in years, I’m proud to say that the program is going to see an increase in funding and we are already doing the work to make that happen because we know how valuable Illinois Main Street is,” Stratton said.
Several national Main Street representatives, nationally recognized speakers, and Main Street program directors from across the state were among the more than 75 people who attended the conference to discuss a variety of topics related to Main Street’s four-point approach of economic vitality, organization, design and promotion.
via Jacksonville Journal-Courier
November 5, 2021 at 06:59AM