KDP receives National Main Street accreditation

Kent Downtown Partnership has been designated as an accredited Main Street America program for meeting rigorous performance standards set by the National Main Street Center.

Each year, the National Main Street Center and its Coordinating Program partners announce the list of accredited Main Street America programs in recognition of their exemplary commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization through the Main Street Approach.

“It is a great honor to recognize this year’s 828 nationally Accredited Main Street America programs for their outstanding work to transform downtown and neighborhood commercial districts,” said Patrice Frey, president & CEO of the National Main Street Center. “Main Streets are the heart of our communities, and the work they do to create quality public spaces, catalyze local entrepreneurship, and support downtown housing is more important than ever. Across the county, Main Street America programs truly strengthen the economic, social, and cultural fabric of their entire communities.”

The organization’s performance is annually evaluated by Washington State’s Main Street Program, which works in partnership with the National Main Street Center to identify the local programs that meet ten performance standards. Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, securing an operating budget, tracking programmatic progress and actively preserving historic buildings.

“As current board president and a small business owner, I personally believe the reason for our success is directly related to our very involved board members and amazing office staff. All of whom share the same vision, ” said Randall Smith, KDP president. “The work completed on the Multi-Service Center building was to expose the original transom windows, which look wonderful. Next we exposed bricks on the Harmon Rick building, making the name of the original building more visible.

“And, to encourage building and business owners to properly maintain their storefronts, we offer façade improvement grans to help our small business owners improve their look and appeal. This is all in an effort to attract more businesses to our community, therefore, bringing more people into our historic downtown.”

Although the KDP is interested in how the historic downtown looks and feels, the organization said it is equally interested in maintaining and bringing back the historical look of Kent’s few remaining historic buildings. Gregg Haffner, a Washington State Main Street award winner, is leading this effort as well as working to get a section of the downtown designated as a historic district.

Smith and past-president Mike Miller are putting together a possibility tour to showcase downtown to commercial realtors, property owners and others interested in development.

Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for more than 35 years. Today, it is a network of more than 1,000 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development.