Milton-Freewater selected for downtown renewal

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Milton-Freewater has reached a milestone in its Main Street revitalization movement.

The community was one of three selected for inclusion at the Transforming Downtown level of the Oregon Main Street program.

In short, the achievement is one of several steps in the process of a long-term revitalization plan.

Communities selected at this level have demonstrated a high degree of commitment to organizing a downtown revitalization program using the Main Street Approach, a comprehensive, nationwide program that uses historic preservation as one of its key tools. The downtown Walla Walla revitalization took place under the same program and continues to be used by the Downtown Walla Walla Foundation.

Milton-Freewater was joined by Newberg and Salem in achieving its latest status, according to an announcement from Oregon Main Street coordinator Sheri Stuart.

The primary emphasis at this level is to provide technical assistance to chosen communities during their formative years. That includes training, community assessments, local capacity building support and more. There is no fee to participate in the Oregon Main Street network.

Eighty communities in Oregon are participating in one of the four levels of the Oregon Main Street Network: Performing Main Street, Transforming Downtown, Exploring Main Street and Affiliate. All three of the designated communities were previously at the Exploring Downtown level.

In 2011, communities at the Performing and Transforming levels added 51 new businesses, 435 net new jobs and 216 private sector building improvement projects representing $8.2 million in investment, according to the announcement.

Reporter Sheila Hagar contributed to this column.

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