Rock Springs Main Street has been named the winner of the National Main Street Center’s 2018 Great American Main Street Award. The award, which was presented today at the 2018 Main Street Now Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, recognizes Main Street communities that excel at comprehensive, preservation-based commercial district revitalization.
“It is a great honor for the entire community for Downtown Rock Springs to be selected as the 2018 Great American Main Street Award winner,” said Carl Demshar, mayor of Rock Springs. “The award is a result of the hard work we’ve done to revitalize downtown, but the economic benefits will ripple throughout the entire community.”
The Rock Springs award application drew the attention of the national jury – comprising community development professionals and economic/historic preservation agency representatives – because of its focus on restoring and revitalizing two historic buildings that anchor Downtown Rock Springs, the Freight Station and the new Broadway Theater. The emphasis on supporting Latino business owners was another stand-out measure.
The Freight Station, which had been abandoned for more than 30 years, is now a community center bustling with weekly events. It houses the Visitors Center where travelers can get recommendations and use the public restrooms. The Broadway Theater is downtown’s new live performance art venue. The 370-seat theater hosts a range of shows each year that draw visitors from far and wide.
Because Hispanic-owned businesses are the fastest growing sector of the economic boom downtown, Rock Springs Main Street has worked hard to increase services to this population. The organization has developed an Ethnic Enclave Business District, allowing Rock Springs Main Street to engage with business owners in a more effective way. Additionally, Rock Springs Main Street hosts events encouraging patronage at Hispanic-owned businesses.
“I’m so proud of the work we have done in Downtown Rock Springs to reshape the district back into the vibrant, exciting area it once was, and winning this prestigious award is validation of the work we’re doing,” says Chad Banks, manager of the Rock Springs Main Street/Urban Renewal Agency (URA), which has been working to revitalize Downtown Rock Springs for the last 10 years. “It wouldn’t be possible without the support of the city, the URA/Main Street Board and the countless volunteers who give their time and talents to ensure the success of the program. I look forward to getting back to Rock Springs and celebrating this win with the community.”
The 2018 Great American Main Street Awards are sponsored by U.S. Bank.
Downtown Rock Springs is a member of Wyoming Main Street, the state coordinating agency for the National Main Street Center program.
Wyoming’s 15 Main Street communities opened 33 net new businesses and created 228 net new jobs in 2017. Every dollar invested in the Wyoming Main Street program last year returned $3.22, according to the Wyoming Business Council, the state agency in charge of the Wyoming Main Street program.
Rock Springs is the second Wyoming community to win the National Main Street Center’s Great American Main Street Award, the organization’s highest honor.
Rawlins earned the award in 2015.
About Downtown Rock Springs Main Street/Urban Renewal Agency (www.DowntownRS.com)
The Urban Renewal Agency (URA) was established in 2005 by the City of Rock Springs to revitalize, redevelop and conserve the slum and blighted areas of the Urban Renewal District, which encompasses the downtown central business district and the east entrance to the City of Rock Springs. Along with volunteers, the URA has partnered with the City of Rock Springs, the Downtown Merchants, Sweetwater Economic Development Association, Chamber of Commerce, Wyoming Business Council, Sweetwater School District Number 1, Community Fine Arts Center, Historical Museum Board, City Recreation Board, City of Rock Springs Parks and Recreation department, Library Board, professional individuals, property owners, and all appropriate stakeholders in the City of Rock Springs community. Every one of these partnerships play a vital role in helping accomplish projects within the URA plan.
About Main Street America (www.MainStreet.org)
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. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, Inc., a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.