ROCK SPRINGS– In March, Downtown Rock Springs Main Street/Urban Renewal Agency was named the winner of the National Main Street Center’s 2018 Main Street Great American Main Street award.
The Main Street America website says the award “recognizes exceptional Main Street communities that excel at comprehensive, preservation-based commercial district revitalization.”
Rock Springs Main Street received the award at the 2018 Main Street Now Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 26.
Rock Springs Main Street/URA Manager Chad Banks said he had been to the conference for five or six years, and it has always been “energizing” to see what other towns and communities are doing.
“For our community to be recognized and highlighted was a great feeling. It was an incredible and humbling moment,” Banks said of receiving the award.
Showing Rock Springs in a Positive Light
The Great American Main Street award not only affirms the impressive work and effort by the Rock Springs Main Street/URA Agency, but it also reflects positively on the community.
Banks acknowledges that Rock Springs is often perceived negatively. That is why he believes it is so important to show the town in a positive light.
“Any opportunity to showcase Rock Springs in a positive light, whether through the Great American Main Street award or through having one of the top 10 junior colleges for example, is beneficial to our community,” Banks said.
Rock Springs Main Streets’ Projects
The national jury at the Main Street Now Conference noted Rock Springs Main Street’s impressive work on restoring the Freight Station and the Broadway Theater, as well their work with Latino business owners in downtown Rock Springs.
Freight Station and the Broadway Theater
The Freight Station which was abandoned for over 30 years was restored, and now acts as the Visitors Center, and is the home of the URA office.
The restoration of the Broadway Theater has brought a lot of people downtown, creating a night life in the downtown area.
The amount of people coming to see shows at the Broadway Theater year-round has helped support other downtown businesses and restaurants.
Developing an Ethnic Enclave Business District
Rock Springs Main Street worked with the National Main Street Center to develop an Ethnic Enclave Business District in downtown Rock Springs. They focused on how to better work with Latino business owners to enhance their businesses.
“It’s great to have that relationship with the Hispanic business owners,” Banks said. He added that the diversity the Hispanic-owned businesses bring to Rock Springs is “a great asset to our community.”
Building relationships with Latino business owners has allowed Rock Springs Main Street to encourage the community to visit Hispanic-owned businesses.