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– Far left is Dewey Cashwell -Bristol VA City Manager, Middle is Jeff Sadler -Virginia Main Street Program Director, Ed Harlow -Mayor of Bristol VA, Don Ashley & Jim Steele — Council Members

Downtown Bristol to Kickoff More Revitalization Efforts

February 03, 2012

Bristol, VA/TN – A kickoff and sign unveiling event celebrating Bristol’s new designation as an official Virginia Main Street (VMS) community was held Friday afternoon at the corner of Cumberland and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

At this event, VMS State Director, Jeff Sadler presented the community with road signs signifying its designation, and joined with local officials and Believe in Bristol board members in commenting on the community’s past and future revitalization efforts. The event was preceded by a Technical Assistance visit with Todd Barman, Senior Program Officer for The National Trust Main Street Center. This is the first of many intensive services focused on the continued vitality and growth of downtown in which Believe in Bristol will now receive as participants in the VMS program.

“The purpose of the Main Street program is to help groups like Believe in Bristol maximize the impact of their financial support from the public and private sectors, as well as the efforts of their volunteers,” explained Sarah Hull, President of Believe in Bristol. “We accomplish this by encouraging a comprehensive approach to downtown revitalization and using best practices learned from other Main Street communities around the country.”

In August, Governor Bob McDonnell announced that Bristol had become an official VMS designated community, "I am pleased to welcome Bristol to the Virginia Main Street program," said Governor McDonnell. "With public and private investment in our traditional commercial districts, we can spark entrepreneurship and job creation downtown in rural and distressed regions of our commonwealth. Main Street is a proven model that uses limited state resources to support local strategies and leverage local resources."

Bristol joins only 24 other currently designated Virginia communities and is one of 23 designated Tennessee Main Street communities.

Bristol has been a Tennessee Main Street Program for over 6 years now, working with The National Main Street Center’s © “Main Street Approach to Downtown Revitalization”. Comprehensive downtown revitalization advocates a return to community self-reliance, local empowerment and the rebuilding of traditional business districts based on unique assets such as distinctive architecture, a pedestrian-friendly environment and local ownership. In other words, community-driven, common sense solutions make our downtowns safe, appealing and vibrant places where folks want to shop, live and make memories.

“Successful downtown revitalization is based on effective partnerships,” comments Christina Blevins, Executive Director for Believe in Bristol “our community partnerships are strong and downtown Bristol is well positioned for continued growth”.

For more information about local downtown revitalization efforts, visit believeinbristol.org. To learn more about the Virginia Main Street Program visit the VMS Web page at: www.dhcd.virginia.gov/mainstreet, or call (804) 371-7030.