PIQUA — Mainstreet Piqua, the organization behind popular events in the downtown like the Chocolate Walk and Rock Piqua!, was recently recognized at the Heritage Ohio conference in Columbus last week as a 15-year Ohio Main Street Program.
“It’s great,” Lorna Swisher, executive director of Mainstreet Piqua, said. “We have to apply to be an Ohio Main Street Program.” Swisher explained that they were chosen to be a apart of the program in December 1999.
“It is a really wonderful opportunity for Main Street programs across the state to discuss best practices,” Swisher said. “For 15 years, we have had the opportunity to tap into resources across the state.”
Swisher said that the program has also been good for training for staff and volunteers. Mainstreet Piqua has also been able to share the things that have done well and benefited Piqua’s downtown.
“So it’s definitely been a win-win situation for all of us,” Swisher said. “It’s a strong network of programs, all of whom have to work at being selected, so they are communities that are committed to the revitalization of the downtown.”
Swisher said that everyone in the program has that goal in mind and the desire to “bring life back to the heart of their community, which is our goal every single day.”
When it comes to downtown revitalization, Swisher explained that there are “many moving parts,” including the business aspect, the recruitment of new businesses, the retention of businesses, the overall design and layout of the downtown, and the events to draw new people into the downtown.
“All of those aspects are challenging, and we’ve had varied success in all of them,” Swisher said. “Every day’s an adventure.”
When asked what makes Mainstreet Piqua special, Swisher said, “I think we’re special because our community is special.”
Swisher went on, saying, “We are successful because of our amazing volunteers and the extraordinary support that we get from … businesses and building owners and area corporations and banks and many private individuals who support the program. We are successful because of all of them.”
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall