Home News Local News MainStreet Roswell gets its national accreditation back

MainStreet Roswell gets its national accreditation back

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National accreditation from Main Street America means the local group will be able to receive more state assistance and funding, says Kathy Lay, executive director of MainStreet Roswell. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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MainStreet Roswell will be in line for more expertise and funding from the state now that it has received accreditation from the national Main Street organization.

“They have had some bounces up and down, and, in the last couple of years, they have been able to turn that around,“ said Rich Williams, executive director of New Mexico Main Street, part of the New Mexico Economic Development Department. “That’s a really big achievement for them.”

He described national accreditation as an “important tool” for the local organization. It entitles them to apply for more requests for management, marketing, urban design and architectural experts, he said, and it means that their requests for state funds for capital projects will be given a higher priority by Main Street New Mexico leaders than funding asks coming from non-accredited Main Street groups in the state.

Formed in 1991, MainStreet Roswell last had accreditation in 2013. The sudden loss of an executive director who had been with the group for years, turnover of board members and other issues meant that the group had not qualified for accreditation thereafter, although it remained an affiliated partner with the national organization.

The national Main Street organization, a program of a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, determines national accreditation. But state Main Street leaders are involved in the evaluation leading up to the accreditation decision and recommend accreditation when appropriate.

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Organizations must meet all 10 of the national standards to earn the accreditation, with those standards covering such things as budget, board and volunteer training, mission statements and organizational plans.

At its previous evaluation in November 2016 , the local organization itself identified needs for increased economic development initiatives and more board training, Williams said at that time.

MainStreet Roswell Executive Director Kathy Lay, who joined the group shortly before the 2016 evaluation, said the organization spent the past year bringing its legal documents with state and local government partners into compliance and also developing more partnerships with businesses, chambers of commerce, small business development centers and other organizations.

Those partnerships are key, she said, to increasing activity and progress in the four priorities of Main Street groups: organization, promotion, urban and architectural design, and economic vitality.

“Not just myself, but the board has gone out and really recruited, built strong bridges and has been downtown (to work on projects),” she said. “It has to be an actively, thriving program for it to be accredited.”

MainStreet is often recognized for sponsoring festivals and events during the year, including the Holiday Parade and Farmers’ Market, but it also works with partners to preserve and promote the downtown area by helping businesses succeed and by working to improve the aesthetics and infrastructure of the area.

Lay said that accreditation has several advantages, including that the Roswell organization can make twice as many expert service requests as it was eligible to make as an affiliate.

In 2016, the group received assistance from management, marketing and design experts that totaled more than $33,000, she said. In 2017, the value of those services received were $56,450 and went to such things as board training, marketing analysis, bylaws review and the “façade squad” that worked with downtown businesses to plan for new signage and exteriors.

Lay said the 2017 amount included $20,000 in four assistance requests that the organization was entitled to make as an affiliate. As an accredited group, it can now make up to eight service requests

“Depending on what service requests we put in, it could actually double to $40,000,” Lay said.

Both Williams and Lay stress that downtown businesses and city will benefit from increased economic revitalization efforts in the coming year, including a planned marketing seminar in March for local businesses, that will come as a benefit of its accreditation.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.