Three Wyoming Main Street communities won awards Friday night for their work improving downtowns across the state.
The Rock Springs Urban Renewal Association/Main Street earned $100 and the Innovation Award for an Original and Effective Project. Chad Banks, the program’s executive director, received the Leadership Award and a $300 donation to the Rock Springs program. The Outstanding Creative Display went to Home Décor, of Evanston. The award comes with a $100 donation to the Evanston program. Honorable mention honors were given to The Curiosity Shoppe, of Laramie. The Laramie program received a $75 check.
Bobbi Barrasso, wife of U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, presented the awards.
The Innovation Award recognized Rock Springs’ work to beautify the tunnel connecting the two halves of its downtown. Dubbed “Art Underground,” Banks and his organization painted, installed lighting and then invited two dozen local artists to make displays and hang them along the walkway.
More than 250 volunteer hours by young and elderly alike went into creating paintings, found-art displays and more.
Wyoming Main Street is a program of the Wyoming Business Council, the state’s economic development agency. The program provided more than $236,000 in training and technical assistance funding in 2015.
The 12-year-old program continues to grow and is beginning to garner national attention. Rawlins last year became the first community in the northern Rocky Mountain region to earn the National Main Street Center’s coveted Great American Main Street Award. Laramie won the center’s 2016 Innovation on Main Street Award for its downtown mural project.
Here at home, Wyoming Main Street members are making a tangible impact in their communities. Volunteers contributed nearly 26,000 hours of their time in 2015. About $2.7 million in public money has been used to leverage nearly $24.4 million in private investment.
The funding helped rehabilitate 130 historic buildings across Wyoming.
In all, Wyoming Main Street communities contributed to the creation of 65 new businesses and nearly 300 new jobs.
This year’s state awards honor the hard work it takes at the local level to adopt the National Main Street Center’s four-point approach, develop best practices using state-level technical assistance and turn concepts into reality in Wyoming’s historic downtown communities.
For more information, please call Wyoming Main Street Program Manager Linda Klinck at 307-777-2934.