Wednesday, April 9, 2008

What We Are & How We Are Structured

One of the questions I get all the time are questions that ask how our program works. Its a very important question and one that has a mildly complecated answer. I figured I'd take a second to try to provide some clarification.

Our program is a regional Main Street program. This means that we follow the Main Street Four-Point approach towards downtown revitalization:
  • Design: Improving the physical attributes of Main Street and ensuring that Main Street is in top-shape.
  • Organization: Working with other like-minded civic groups towards the same goal of reinvograting Main Street. This also means working within the committee on things like training, recruitment and fundraising.
  • Promotions: Working to promote Main Street as a whole through things like advertising and festivals.
  • Economic Restructuring: Helping to maintain and enhance already existing businesses and recruit new ones.

Okay, so that isn't all that complicated. Our organization, however, well...that's another story.

Our program is a partnership between the Greater Lehigh Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED), the Pennsylvania Downtown Center, Lehigh County, Northampton County and the eight participating Boroughs (Alburtis, Bangor, Bath, Catasauqua, Coopersburg, Hellertown, Macungie and Wilson). Ask me how long it took to memorize that list sometime.

The program is funded primarily by DCED, who provides $90,000 per year for the funding of the salries of the two coordinators, as well as the $135,000 a year for the Facade Program. The money is initially given to the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commece Foundation, since the Foundation has a 501c3 status (charitable, non-profit organization). The nine participating boroughs each contribute $.50 per capita - this comes to about $17,000. The Chamber of Commerce picks up the remainder of the expenses, including reimbursements for travel and equipment.

The program is administered largely by Lehigh and Northampton counties, in conjunction with the Chamber. Furthermore, the Pennsylvania Downtown Center provides technical assistance, trainings and does the annual assessments of our program.

I really hope that helped to clear up some questions for you all and hopefully made things less confusing! Any questions, feel free to E-mail me at or call me at 484-809-1796.

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