Posted by Admin | July 17th, 2014

John Dahlia has hands-on experience in the field of community development and economic growth. As the director of Main Street Fairmont, Dahlia achieved exceptional results in raising funds and in achieving a higher degree of name recognition for the communityand for his non-profit organization. Dahlia’s efforts allowed Mainstreet Fairmont to receive national attention with wins in both the West Virginia Main Street Program of the Year and the Best Main Street in the U.S. competitions.

Creating Pathways to Success

The experience John Dahlia acquired while working with Main Street Fairmont has served him well in his later career and has provided him with a unique perspective on the value of these programs for startups and small businesses. By investing in the main streets and historic areas within the community, Main Street Fairmont and other programs like it can rejuvenate commerce in the center city and can deliver added employment and housing options for residents in these areas.

Why Main Streets Matter

The central location of main street initiatives allows for easy access from all parts of the city and can provide opportunities for retailers, entertainment venues and other businesses to reach a larger audience. By renovating buildings and restoring these areas, cities can generate increased tax revenues and can attract companies looking to relocate within the region. Centralized locations offer significant benefits for businesses. However, this assumes that the area is vibrant and easily accessible for staff and customers. Maintaining a viable main street or downtown area can open up new employment opportunities and can create a ripple effect that spreads prosperity throughout the entire city.

Fundraising and Renovation

In some cases, it may be possible to enlist the help of existing companies and community organizations in restoring the downtown area to its former glory. Most main street renovation projects, however, depend on volunteers and donors to acquire the funds and the labor necessary to clean up these areas and arrange for restoration or demolition of dangerous buildings. Community fundraising events can generate positive publicity for the cause and can help organizations to establish a solid financial basis for their activities in the main street area.

Establishing Housing Options

One important key to success is the availability of housing in the area to be renovated. Lofts and apartment buildings are ideal for this purpose:

  • They provide relatively low-cost housing options for employees in the main street or downtown area
  • Maintaining a core of residents downtown can reduce crime and improve the quality of the neighborhood, leading to increased buy-in from the community
  • Lofts can be integrated into new commercial construction projects to create a work-live-play environment with real appeal
  • Hotels and short-term residence options are ideal for attracting companies with extensive transfer lists and consequent housing requirements

By establishing the downtown and main street areas as places to live as well as sources of employment, community revitalization organizations can often achieve improved results for their ongoing projects.

John Dahlia and other community leaders have made significant strides in the field of economic development and neighborhood restoration in the hearts of their cities. By maintaining a comprehensive and cohesive approach, cities can enjoy the benefits of a vibrant and vital downtown area.