Rochester wins national accolade for downtown revitalization

The National Trust for Historic Preservation announced that Rochester, Mich., was chosen as a 2013 Great American Main Street Awards® (GAMSA) winner. Recognized as a leader in implementing the Main Street Four-Point Approach®, embracing sound historic preservation practices and building strategic partnerships, the Rochester Downtown Development Authority (DDA) was honored at the annual National Main Streets Conference in New Orleans.

brightlightsThe National Main Street Center’s annual GAMSA awards recognize exceptional accomplishments in revitalizing the nation’s historic Main Street commercial districts. The Rochester DDA has succeeded in transforming a mill town that had fallen on hard times into a thriving suburb of Detroit built around a strong sense of place and community. A robust mix of public events, creative use of social media and a broad spectrum of volunteer involvement has attracted a loyal following to downtown Rochester. The DDA’s Big Bright Light Show, for example draws 1 million visitors each holiday season to enjoy 1.5 million lights—lighting up merchants’ cash registers in the process.

“The Rochester DDA is a true innovator in marketing and small business assistance, and has the vibrant downtown to prove it,” says Valecia Crisafulli, acting director of National Main Street Center. “At a time when many municipalities are losing population, Rochester has experienced a 20 percent increase in population. With a 4 percent vacancy rate downtown and 132 new businesses since adopting the Main Street Approach, the DDA can take great pride in creating an inviting place for people to live, shop and open businesses.”

The other two 2013 winners are H Street Main Street in Washington, D.C., and Ocean Springs Main Street in Ocean Springs, Miss. Winners were selected by a national jury composed of former award winners, community development professionals, and governmental agency representatives who are active in community economic development and historic preservation. Criteria for winning include: active involvement of the public and private sectors; broad-based community support for the revitalization effort; innovative solutions to significant problems and commitment to historic preservation.

To learn about previous GAMSA winners, visit

The Main Street Four-Point Approach® is a proven methodology for historic preservation-based economic development. It was developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation more than 30 years ago and has been implemented by more than 2,000 communities throughout the U.S.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places.

About Tom and Ann Gendich

Founders of Rochester Media. Looking to provide great local news to all people in and around Rochester and Rochester Hills. Send them a note at

Speak Your Mind