Town Square Park in the heart of downtown Kent. COURTESY PHOTO, KDP

Town Square Park in the heart of downtown Kent. COURTESY PHOTO, KDP

Kent Downtown Partnership receives 2019 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 partners announce the list of accredited Main Street America programs to recognize their exemplary commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization through the Main Street Approach.

“We are proud to acknowledge this year’s 840 nationally accredited Main Street America programs that have worked tirelessly to strengthen their communities. said Patrice Frey, president and CEO of the National Main Street Center. “These programs deserve recognition for generating impressive economic returns, preserving community character, and celebrating local history. Main Street America Accredited communities are part of a powerful movement of change-makers, and their dedication to improving quality of life in the places they call home is inspiring.

In 2018 alone, Main Street America programs generated $4.93 billion in local reinvestment, helped open 5,310 net new businesses, generated 25,301 net new jobs, catalyzed the rehabilitation of 8,146 historic buildings and clocked 2.2 million volunteer hours.

The Kent Downtown Partnership performance is annually evaluated by Washington State Main Street Program, which works in partnership with the National Main Street Center to identify the local programs that meet ten national 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, documenting programmatic progress, and actively preserving historic buildings.

Kent’s downtown was like many others 45-plus years ago. Improved roads now allowed residents to shop at the new shopping strips and malls. Downtown businesses either closed or moved to the malls. The need to revitalize downtown commercial districts was obvious. A healthy, viable downtown is crucial to the heritage, economic health and civic pride of the entire community for many reasons:

• Extremely important to the community’s heritage.

• Retains and create jobs.

• A stronger tax base.

• Establishes capable, healthy businesses which use public services.

• Revitalized downtowns are symbols of community caring and a high quality of life-and the community’s soul is once again intact.

About Main Street America

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 1,600 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Since 1980, communities participating in the program have leveraged more than $79.12 billion in new public and private investment, generated640,017 net new jobs and 143,613 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 284,936 buildings. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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