Innovation team aims to revitalize Grant
A new innovation group in Grant is working to “promote the Good Life in Grant through community enhancement.”
The Grant Innovation Team, which includes Denny Hansen, Shari Friedel, Kris Long, Brenda Styskal and Val Foster, has been sharing their ideas to revitalize Grant and requesting input from the community.
Ideas have included replacement of sidewalks, curbs and light fixtures, installation of signage and incorporation of green spaces and art elements, while preserving the history of downtown.
Hansen said Grant is a great town that has treated him and his family well, but it’s showing some age.
The team has recently joined the Nebraska Main Street Network, sponsored by donations from the three banks in Grant.
As a member of the Main Street Network, the group will receive access to information, resources and support to help them set goals and establish their vision for community beautification, including an on-site visit to get them started.
“We have a lot of ideas, but we need somebody to help us put them in place,” Long said of the Main Street Network.
The Main Street Four-Point Approach is a community-driven, comprehensive strategy. The four points include design, economic restructuring, promotion and organization:
• Design—Enhancing the downtown’s physical environment by capitalizing on its best assets and creating an inviting atmosphere through attractive window displays, parking areas, building improvements, streetscapes and landscaping.
• Economic Restructuring—Strengthening a community’s existing economic base while also expanding and diversifying it.
• Promotion—Marketing a downtown’s unique characteristics.
• Organization—Getting everyone in the community working toward a common goal.
Successful application of the Main Street Four Point Approach is guided by the following eight principles:
• Comprehensive—No single focus can revitalize Main Street. For successful, sustainable, long-term revitalization, a comprehensive approach is essential.
• Incremental—Successful revitalization programs begin with basic, simple activities that demonstrate “new things are happening.” As public confidence grows, Main Street is able to tackle more ambitious projects.
• Self-help—Local leaders must have the will and desire to mobilize local resources and talent. That means convincing residents and business owners of the rewards they’ll reap by investing time and money in Main Street — the heart of their community. Only local leadership can produce long-term success by fostering and demonstrating community involvement and commitment to the revitalization effort.
• Partnerships—Both the public and private sectors must have a vital interest in the district and work together to achieve common goals of Main Street’s revitalization.
• Identifying and capitalizing on existing assets—Every district has unique qualities that give people a sense of belonging. These local assets must serve as the foundation for all aspects of the revitalization program.
• Quality—Emphasize quality in every aspect. Concentrate on quality projects over quantity.
• Change—Skeptics turn into believers and attitudes on Main Street will turn around. Public support for change will build as the Main Street program grows and consistently meets its goals. Change also means engaging in better business practices, altering ways of thinking, and improving the physical appearance of the commercial district.
• Implementation—To succeed, Main Street must show visible results that can only come from completing projects. Frequent, visible changes are a reminder that the revitalization effort is under way and succeeding.
The group meets at Meadowlark Gallery every second and fourth Tuesdays at noon, and any are welcome to join.
They can be reached at email@example.com or PO Box 465, Grant NE 69140.
Hansen said they want to give back to the community and see it survive and thrive. “Our population isn’t going down like a lot of them are, so we must be doing something right,” he said.