Main Street Chestertown earns top designation through national program

CHESTERTOWN — Main Street Chestertown has achieved “accredited” status again through the Main Street America program after meeting rigorous performance standards related to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization.

According to a news release, Main Street Chestertown is the only accredited program in Kent County.

In 2023, the Main Street America programs generated $5.68 billion in local reinvestment; helped open 6,630 net new businesses; facilitated the creation of 35,162 net new jobs; catalyzed the rehabilitation of 10,556 historic buildings; and leveraged 1,664,763 volunteer hours.

According to the news release, on average, for every dollar that a Main Street program spent to support its operations, it generated $18.03 of new investment back into its downtown and commercial corridor communities.

“We are incredibly excited to celebrate this year’s 800 Accredited Main Street America programs, and their remarkable efforts to reenergize their local economies and public spaces,” Main Street America President and CEO Erin Barnes said in the news release.

To quality for “accredited” status — Main Street America’s top designation tier — communities must demonstrate a proven track record of achieving outcomes in alignment with the Main Street Approach and exceptional performance in six areas: broad-based community commitment to revitalization; inclusive leadership and organizational capacity; diversified funding and sustainable program operations; strategy-driven programming; preservation-based economic development; and demonstrated impact and results.

In 2023, under the leadership of Executive Director Nina Fleegle, Main Street Chestertown secured funding for a downtown master plan; installed wayfinding signage; granted funding for facade improvement projects; installed two pocket parks and brick sidewalks; hosted multiple community events; and completed a commercial lighting project.

These projects and events focused on enhancing Chestertown’s historic downtown and attracting visitors and residents.

In a written statement, Fleegle said: “Main Street Chestertown is honored to be reaccredited by Main Street America. We are proud to represent Chestertown on a national level. Our designation reflects the hard work of our board, staff, and volunteers and allows us to continue our efforts to beautify, enliven, and promote our historic district.”

Main Street Chestertown Inc., which was first accredited in 2010, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to preserving, enhancing and promoting historic downtown Chestertown.

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