Main Street Manager
The City of Livingston has been a nationally recognized
Main Street City every year since 2005.
The Livingston Main Street Program continued to promote the restoration and revitalization of downtown Livingston with nine new business openings in 2011, including: The Sharper Pencil, Horace Mann Insurance, BLS Land Management, Loos Cannons, NL Duncan Tax Service, Pure Utilities, Cissy's So Much Stuff, Yours, Mine & Ours Mercantile and The Tackle Box.
Building and business owners in the 10-block Livingston Main Street District have taken advantage of the reimbursement grants offered by the Livingston Main Street Program to the tune of over $70,000, spurring over $200,000 of reinvestment in the District. A total of over $1.4 million has been reinvested in the downtown area since Livingston became a Main Street City in 2005. Local fundraisers and donations are the sole source of revenue for these reimbursement grants. Livingston Main Street receives no money from the state or federal governments.
Construction was completed on the Polk County Judicial Center and an Open House was held September 20, 2011.
The Fifth Annual Livingston Main Street Downtown Garage Sale was held in November. This event grows each year and is becoming more of a festival with over 50 food and arts and crafts vendors participating in 2011.
Livingston Main Street presented the Ogden Family Country Jubilee "Branson Style" show twice in 2011, in February and August. This sellout event is great family entertainment and Livingston Main Street's premier fundraiser, drawing more than 1,000 people to join in the fun.
Livingston Main Street joined with all City departments to host Hometown Christmas in December. More than 10,000 people enjoyed the holiday festivities and fantastic lighted parade.
Livingston Main Street volunteers distributed 100 pumpkins donated by HEB Grocery to the Livingston Main Street District businesses to encourage Fall decorating. Livingston Main Street Manager Bob Zeigler painted the pumpkins to create snowmen for the Christmas season.
The Following is a list of services our community will receive as a
Texas Main Street City:
Program Manager Training
Specialists in the areas of organization, design, promotion and economic restructuring will provide training and technical assistance to our Main Street managers.
THC shall provide at least five training opportunities. As an Official Main Street City, we will send our Main Street manager to at least two of these training sessions each year:
Basic Training and Continuing Education/Development (January and February);
Texas Historical Commission Annual Conference in the spring;
Main Street Summer Workshop; and
Texas Downtown Association / Main Street Annual Conference in the fall.
Another training opportunity is the National Main Streets Conference in the spring.
Resource Team Visit
A team of consultants in such fields as architecture, urban design, economic development, marketing, and tourism will be determined and assembled to our community's needs. The three-day evaluation provides the community with short term and long term recommendations for the revitalization of downtown. A resource team workbook will be provided to the community.
The city of Livingston will receive on-site visits in the areas of design, board training, strategic planning, merchandising and economic development. These visits are requested and coordinated by the Main Street manager.
Main Street Program Network
The Monthly Update, the Main Street communique will be sent each month to all Texas Main Street cities. In addition, the Main Street manager is subscribed to the Main Street list serve, and email network available only to official Main Street cities.
As an official main Street City, the Main Street Manager of the City of Livingston will submit monthly reports by the 10th of the following month. Quarterly reinvestment figures will be submitted for the months of January, April, July and October. A Ten Criteria survey submitted to the Texas Main Street Center will also be required annually. Letters of Agreement will not be renewed without receipt of the Ten Criteria Survey.
The Texas Main Street building design staff will be available to assist property owners and businesses in rehabilitating storefronts and buildings, selecting signs and conducting adequate maintenance. The building design staff can help the city with suggestions of streetscape, public improvement design, design review and design guidelines.
The Texas Main Street program is a partnership effort combining the time and expertise, both public and private, available at the local and state levels. The State's role and commitment is to bring training and guidance to the local program in the form of services as specified above.
Main Street Advisory Board Members
Jennifer Birdwell, Polk County Publishing Company.
Debbie Cooper, downtown property owner. Antique store and gift shop owner. Debbie has invested significant funds to restore and rehabilitate two downtown properties.
Thom Bruning, Livingston Main Street property owner.
Debbie Clack, Livingston Main Street property owner and former Livingston Main Street Manager.
Betty Russo, Executive Director, Polk County Economic and Industrial Development Corporation.
Patricia Snook, interested citizen and experienced volunteer in many local community groups.
Dee Dee West, First National Bank, previous Chairman, Livingston Main Street Advisory Board.
Eric Wood, Jones Property Management. Eric knows buildings and was lead contractor on the rehabilitated Jones Property Building, formerly the 1907 First National Bank.
Pat Cook, interested citizen. Pat brings her experiences as a volunteer for several local entities, including SAAFE House, and is an avid gardener and traveler.
Livingston Main Street Program
Now in its 7th year, the success of the Livingston Main Street Program is evident to anyone passing through the downtown area. Once considered a "blighted area", the downtown district looks alive again. Seven building owners have participated in the locally funded Main Street Grant Program to assist in the renovation or repair of their buildings.
The Livingston Main Street Program is part of the National Main Street Program, begun in 1977 by the National Historic Trust to Washington, D.C. This program was designed to preserve the traditional downtown commercial districts that fell into disrepair after the businesses migrated to the suburbs and bypasses in the sixties and seventies. There are 1,600 Main Street Cities across the United States, including 89 in Texas. The Texas program is administered through the Texas Historical Commission in Austin.
A city has to request to be a Main Street City and meet stringent requirements to become a Main Street City. Most cities go through several rounds of applications before they are accepted into the program. Livingston was accepted into the program on its first application, an unusual feat. The Texas Historic Commission was impressed with the overwhelming support of the Livingston community and the organizational abilities of the people involved in the application process. This support by both the community and the City of Livingston continues to this day.
Prior to the Main Street Program, there had been several individuals and local groups that had attempted to reinvigorate downtown. These groups pooled their talents and worked for several years to prepare for the Main Street application process. This dedication in the early years of the Livingston Main Street Program is why it has been and will continue to be successful.
The Livingston Main Street Program is actually a department of the City of Livingston. The City provides an office and a Manager to facilitate the needs of the Main Street volunteers. These volunteers are members of four committees, Organization, Promotion, Design and Economic Restructuring. These committees meet once a month and their activities are overseen by the Advisory Board which also meets monthly.
As mentioned earlier, the Livingston Main Street Program provides incentives to building and business owners within the 10 block Main Street District. In addition to Facade, Paint, Sign and Infrastructure Grants, Livingston Main Street offers free professional architectural services through the Texas Historic Commission, low interest loans through local banks, a tax abatement for property improvements, permit fee waivers and ongoing advertising and promotion of the Main Street District.
It is important to note that the Main Street Grant program is funded solely by local fundraisers and local donations - not state or federal monies. Ongoing fundraisers include the "Recipese from the Heart of Livingston" cookbook, the game of "Livingstonopoly", and Livingston Main Street coffee mugs.
Main Street has reimbursed over $70,000 in grant funds to building and business owners in the Main Street District. These grant funds generated over $200,000 of reinvestment in the downtown area. The total reinvestment in the Main Street District since the Main Street Program began in 2005 is over $1.4 Million.
Livingston Main Street hosts the "Annual Downtown Garage Sale", and assists in the annual "Hometown Christimas Festival". New promotions and fundraisers are constantly in the works - "keep an eye out" for future events in the Main Street District.