Taskforce gives update on Main Street America program

The Weiser Economic Development Taskforce has announced it has received funding to join in the national Main Street America program.
 In an update presented to the Weiser City Council on Monday, taskforce Co-Chairman Patrick Nauman told council members that MTE (Midvale Telephone Exchange) has committed to pay dues for the next five years.
 Taskforce Chairman Layna Hafer told the Weiser Signal American on Tuesday that the dues are $295 annually.
 Main Street America defines itself as a “movement” aimed at breathing new economic and historic life into downtowns and business districts across the country.
 “We took the time to investigate the Main Street America program to see whether it is something we felt could help the economic growth here in our community,” Nauman said. “After a lot of talk and research, and development back and forth with the (Idaho) Department of Commerce, we did make a decision that it would be a good idea for Weiser.”
 Idaho’s Main Street Program, under the IDC, serves as a bridge to the national program, providing a liaison to help with administration and education.
 “There are a ton of amazing opportunities that it presents and, of course, one of the things that always precludes that are affiliated dues if you want to have full access to everything that program offers,” Nauman said. “However, we were lucky enough to get a corporate sponsor to pay the first five years of our membership, so ‘thank you’ to Midvale Telephone who stepped up to the plate.”
 Under the program, Weiser now has access to Main Street America services and resources, which includes such things as instruction on how to organize groups, developing and executing necessary steps in cleaning up city areas, and provides access to grants that assist in revitalization and economic growth efforts.
 “One of the biggest attributes we have found so far is a blog on their website,” Nauman said. “It’s all the members of Main Street America that are posting different questions and what’s going on in their communities every day. And these communities from all over the country are jumping on with questions, answers, and resources. So, even just the resource availability will be huge in order to make some positive strides here in Weiser.”
Entrance Signs
 Last August, as part of its effort to revitalize and better market the city, the 10-member taskforce initiated a contest, asking participants to submit drawings of potential new city entrance signs, with a $300 prize attached to the winning design. 
 The contest was a resounding success, with over 46 designs submitted by individuals ranging in age, from kids in the sixth grade to adults, some of them business owners.
 “We had such a hard time making up our minds, we actually picked two winning designs and doubled the award money,” Nauman said. “Even the designers don’t know who the winner is until we unveil it. Only the person who made the sign does, so it’s kind of cool and kind of neat that way.”
 The first sign has been built, locally, and is now in storage. The taskforce is waiting for permits from the ITD for three signs in total, which will adorn the north and south entrances along Highway 95 on the east side of town and another on Highway 95 at the southwest entrance. The first sign, to be installed at the north entrance, will be unveiled in an official ceremony once the permits are received. It is not currently known when the permits will be ready.
 The first sign was paid for out of last year’s taskforce budget and part of the 2022 budget.
 The group is now looking for funding avenues for the other two signs.
 The task force is also seeking a line item in the city’s budget in the amount of $250,000 to accept any prospective grants through Main Street America.
 Cities are often reimbursed for the cost of projects through grant awards.
 “We are asking for a line item for sponsorships under economic development to accept donations for the signs and other economic development projects,” Hafer said. “We are also asking for a grant line item to be able to bring in grants for the Main Street program.”
 The city council expressed gratitude for the taskforce’s work.
 “I’m super excited for Main Street,” said Sterling Blackwell. “It’s really going to be exciting.”
 

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Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
PH: (208) 549-1717
FAX: (208) 549-1718
 

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