Palestine, Texas- The Texas Historical Commission (THC) commended Palestine on February 12, 2015 for successful annual progress as a designated Main Street community, one of only 60 to receive the designation this year.
The Main Street program in Texas began in 1981 as one of the first state coordinating programs in the country and Palestine was part of the inaugural program. After losing its designation for a number of years, in 2006 it was again certified as a Main Street Community.
Local Main Street programs focus on responsibly utilizing a community’s historic assets for economic benefit and to increase quality of life. During fiscal year 2014, Palestine reinvested more than $328,000 into downtown and statewide more than $120 million was reinvested into Texas’ 89 Main Street districts.
“Recognizing these individual local programs through an annual accreditation process proves that Main Street’s ambitious annual goals are being achieved,” said Debra Drescher, TMSP state coordinator. “Just as importantly, it shows that in Texas and all across the country, the Main Street effort provides substantial return on investment to local communities.”
The Texas Main Street Program will recommend its Texas selections for 2015 National Accreditation to the National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Upon final approval of the Center, the national announcement for all designated Main Street programs across the country will be made at the National Main Street conference in Atlanta, Ga. March 30-April 2.
Main Street programs in Texas are staffed, but are reliant on volunteers to carry out the program. In 2014, Palestine Main Street volunteers logged 1029 hours in support of the program.
“Our local team, from the Main Street Advisory Board to our many volunteers, are what make this program successful,” said Main Street Manager Laura Westgate. “The Main Street is supported by the downtown merchants, individual volunteers, the City Council and all the citizens of Palestine, this recognition on a national level is an honor for us and we look forward to many years of success.”
Accredited programs show above average performance in ten categories on an annual report. Selection criteria focus on planning, partnerships, staffing, volunteer effort, preservation ethic, training and program assessment through reporting. The state office also works with programs throughout the year by providing various services based upon local needs.
For more information on the local Main Street program, visit their website at www.PalestineMainStreet.org, or like them on Facebook. For additional information about the national Main Street effort, visit the National Trust Main Street web site at http://www.preservationnation.org/main-street/. For more information on the Texas Historical Commission’s Main Street program visit www.thc.state.tx.us.