By Emily Banks Wooten
The City of Livingston’s Main Street Program has been certified and recognized as a 2022 Accredited Program by Main Street America and Texas Main Street.
“We appreciate (Main Street Manager) Lynn Riley and all the Main Street board members that have worked hard to achieve this goal. We are so proud of Lynn and her staff,” City Manager Bill S. Wiggins said.
The City of Livingston was successful in achieving the designation as a Main Street City in 2005. The Livingston Main Street District consists of 10 blocks in the downtown area, bounded by Beatty Avenue, East Abbey Street, East Calhoun Street, North Jackson Avenue, North Tyler Avenue and West Church Street.
The Livingston Main Street Program offers building and business owners incentives in the form of foundation and roof repair, infrastructure repairs, painting, upgrades and matching grants for facade restoration. Other incentives include: design assistance, low interest loans, permit fee waivers, promotion of the downtown area and tax abatement.
Since 2005, the Livingston Main Street Program has disbursed over $200,000 in grants and incentives benefiting buildings in the Main Street District. This money was raised solely through local fundraisers. No state or federal funds are used in the Main Street Program.
The Texas Main Street Program is operated through the Texas Historical Commission. The national Main Street revitalization effort for historic downtowns was formed 40 years ago, and there has been a statewide Texas program since that time. The Texas Main Street Program is one of the oldest and largest in the nation.
The program was born of the belief that downtown revitalization is a crucial tool for enhancing the economic and social health of a community. In addition to being the most visible indicator of community pride and economic health, the historic downtown is also the foundation of the unique heritage of a community. The historic buildings in a downtown are prime locations for the establishment of unique entrepreneurial businesses and can also be tourism attractors, all of which add to the community’s sales tax collections and property values.
“Today, massive, look-alike retail centers permeate the national landscape, making it even more important that communities be proactive in saving and using their historic spaces to avoid becoming featureless places. Through guidance from the Texas Main Street Program, designated local Main Street programs will achieve thoughtfully designed, sensitively preserved, and economically vibrant town centers,” according to the Texas Historical Commission’s website.
The mission of the Texas Main Street Program is “to provide technical expertise, resources and support for Texas Main Street communities in accordance with the National Main Street Four Point Approach® of organization, economic vitality, design and promotion.”
Today, there are 90 official Texas Main Street communities across Texas that range in population from less than 2,000 to more than 300,000. Cumulatively, designated Texas Main Street communities have reported significant reinvestment into their historic downtowns.