Downtown Bellefonte Inc. has been designated as an accredited Main Street™ program for meeting rigorous performance standards. Each year, Main Street America and its partners announce the list of accredited programs to recognize their exceptional commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization through the Main Street Approach™.
“We are proud to recognize this year’s 889 nationally accredited Main Street programs that have worked tirelessly to advance economic vitality and quality of life in their downtowns and commercial districts,” said Patrice Frey, President & CEO of Main Street America. “During an incredibly challenging year, these programs demonstrated the power of the Main Street movement to drive impressive local recovery efforts, champion small businesses, and foster vibrant downtown districts. I am inspired by their hard work and confident that these accredited communities will continue to help their downtowns flourish in the next stages of recovery.”
In 2020, Main Street America programs generated $4.14 billion in local reinvestment, helped open 4,356 net new businesses, generated 14,988 net new jobs, catalyzed the rehabilitation of 8,488 historic buildings, and clocked 983,702 volunteer hours.
Downtown Bellefonte Inc.’s performance is annually evaluated by Pennsylvania Downtown Center, which works in partnership with Main Street America to identify the local programs that meet 10 national performance standards. Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building meaningful and sustainable revitalization programs and include standards such as, fostering strong public-private partnerships, documenting programmatic progress, and actively preserving historic buildings.
Despite a difficult year across the nation, Bellefonte became home to 14 new businesses in 2020 and even more at the start of 2021. Downtown Bellefonte Inc. worked through its single staff member and volunteers to provide resources, information and support related to the coronavirus pandemic; but also worked to find ways to support visitation and shopping to our community, safely.
One of the most notable accomplishments for Downtown Bellefonte Inc. in 2020 was its Shop Small Crawl initiative, brainstormed by the business community and executed by Downtown Bellefonte Inc. volunteers and staff, which created an opportunity for residents and visitors alike to explore what downtown shops, restaurants, craft beverage producers and more had to offer and check out a new, or new-to-them business. That Shop Small Crawl returned the last week in May for the Friday in the ‘Fonte series of events held on four dates throughout the summer.
In 2021, Downtown Bellefonte Inc. welcomed new Main Street Manager Jennilyn Schuster, a Bellefonte resident who serves as the public face of DBI to Bellefonte and the surrounding community at large. In her role , Jennilyn promotes downtown activities, educates and collaborates with businesses, and serves as a visionary, facilitator, and coordinator for our Main Street Program.
“As we start to think about our strategic plans for the coming years in Bellefonte, accreditation and the support that comes through the Main Street America program as well as through Pennsylvania Downtown Center are extremely valuable to our organization and our community,” Ellen Matis, Downtown Bellefonte Inc. Board President, said. “We’ve made strides in the Bellefonte community in just a few short years, and this designation will help us continue to champion efforts that support economic development, the arts, historic preservation, and others.”
ABOUT DOWNTOWN BELLEFONTE INC.
Downtown Bellefonte Inc. is Bellefonte, Pennsylvania’s Main Street program — dedicated to helping business arrive and thrive in 21st Century Bellefonte while preserving, protecting, and utilizing Bellefonte’s historic architecture and heritage, and organizing town-wide initiatives that invite residents and visitors alike to discover all that Bellefonte has to offer.
ABOUT MAIN STREET AMERICA
Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for 40 years. Today, it is a network of more than 1,600 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Since 1980, communities participating in the program have leveraged more than $85.43 billion in new public and private investment, generated 672,333 net new jobs and 150,079 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 295,348 buildings. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.