Following a period of hiatus from the Texas Main Street program, the Kerrville City Council has resolved to restart the board and programs that aim to further the goals of the Kerrville 2050 plan with respect to the downtown area. Kerrville initially became involved with the Main Street program in the mid-1990s but took a one-year leave of absence beginning in summer 2018 “to acquaint the new leadership with the City processes and to hire new staff to take on the task of downtown revitalization.” Council voted unanimously on August 13 to reconstitute the program and appoint new Main Street Advisory board members to serve.
According to councilperson Kim Clarkson, “From my perspective… through the 2050 plan, neighborhood development and place-making, as well as focusing on the downtown revitalization would be a reason for recreation of a board like the Main Street Board. It’s re-focusing, and that’s what our citizens said they wanted to look at as an area of focus.” (Ref.: City Council Meeting, August 13, 2019.)
The seven-member board (MSAB) will be made up of property owners and business owners within the Downtown Arts & Cultural District (see map below). The city is currently accepting applications for membership on the board, which will require a two-year term of service, except for three members, chosen by chance, to serve a one-year initial term, so that the terms are staggered. To apply for membership on this board, please visit the city’s Main Street page.
The MSAB “serves in an advisory capacity to the Mayor and City Council and assists other City Boards and Commissions and City Staff to further goals and objectives of the City, including goals and objectives of the Kerrville 2050 Comprehensive Plan and other long-range plans adopted by the City; provides for the achievement of the Texas Main Street Program goals and criteria for the preservation and revitalization of the historic downtown in order to provide the necessary image for the downtown area and serves as a unifying factor to encourage area merchants and building owners to reinvest in downtown; creates positive change for downtown to ensure the success of the Main Street Program by identifying and mobilizing resources, building volunteer support, developing new leadership, and maintaining clear focus on the needs and opportunities for the downtown area.”
The Main Street program hosted the Mardi Gras on Main fundraiser from 2005 through 2016, raising funds for public arts projects such as the James Avery Mother’s Love sculpture at Main and Earl Garrett, and Lupe the Bass in Louise Hayes Park. The program also provided a voice for downtown business owners and stakeholders to participate in the overall direction and programs aimed at developing and supporting the historic downtown area. The board advised council on various matters pertaining to downtown, such as parking rules, signage, facades, walkability, and other important matters.
However, turnover in city staff leadership of the program along with other concerns, led to a temporary hiatus from the Main Street program. Council’s action this month will allow the city to remain in good standing within the state-sponsored program that aims to help communities preserve, develop, maintain, and promote their historic downtown districts.