In the past 34 years, more than 2,000 American towns and cities have been a part of the Main Street program. If you’ve gotten off the interstate and chanced upon a thriving little municipal oasis with green public spaces, sidewalk cafes, boutique shops and modern businesses in renovated buildings, it’s probably a “Main Street” town. Brownsville is the newest community to achieve the Tennessee Main Street certification. Brownsville joins 27 other communities across the state.
“What is Main Street?” and “what are the advantages of being a Main Street Community”? These are the two questions I hear on a daily basis. I once asked myself those same questions. Now that I have educated myself, I truly understand the importance of the Main Street Program and how valuable it is to our community’s success. Through a series of articles, I hope to explain to you how, when, where and why Main Street Brownsville.
What is Main Street? It is traditionally the center for social, cultural, and economic activity for the community. It is the big stage and the core of the community. Our Main Streets tell us who we are, who we were, and how the past has shaped us. But unfortunately, many downtown and Main Streets are no longer the center stage. The majority of business is seen in strip mall businesses. The effects on downtown business have suffered from a complicated cycle of disinvestment: with businesses leaving, rental rates slip and property owners have less to invest in their buildings, giving the district a shabby, uncared-for appearance and making it even harder to attract new business. Through the Main Street program, we are looking to turn the table and bring our community back to the thriving town we once were. It is our hope to pull businesses and people back to the downtown core. Main Street Brownsville is made up of 20 board members with very diverse backgrounds and interest. We are committed to you, to Brownsville and to Main Street. Our mission statement is to enrich the quality of life for citizens of Haywood County by revitalizing the economy, enhancing the historical charm, and preserving the architectural and cultural heritage of Brownsville’s Main Street District.