Jeanine Rann is the Community Development Coordinator for the Missouri Main Street Connection group, which is currently working with the city of Blue Springs.
|1 Could you give us a brief summary of who you are and what you do?||
I am the Community Development Coordinator for the Missouri Main Street Connection, with 18 years of experience in downtown revitalization. I was the Executive Director of Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street for the past eight and a half years, and prior to that I worked for downtown Warrensburg and Grand Haven, Mich. I work closely with designated Main Street communities that are working to revitalize their downtown districts, giving guidance and direction on how to implement the Main Street Approach to Downtown Revitalization, a methodology established by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the National Main Street Center.
|2 What are your overall impressions with Downtown Blue Springs?||
Downtown Blue Springs has a wonderful sense of place and is filled with forward-thinking entrepreneurs and stakeholders that clearly want to make their downtown the heart and soul of the community. Principal strengths and assets include a significant government presence, strong community support for downtown revitalization, the presence of a wide mix of retail, service and residential uses, and considerable property investment. This environment attracts investors and sets the stage for significant public and private investment.
|3 If you could improve one thing in the downtown Blue Springs area by tomorrow, what would it be?||
Main Street isn’t about someone from the outside coming in to tell you what you should do; it’s about building community consensus around what the citizens and stakeholders deem as their vision.
Recognizing quick-fix solutions do not work, the Main Street Approach advocates a return to community self-reliance and the redevelopment of Main Street program areas based on their traditional assets: personal service, local ownership, a unique physical environment and a sense of community. It is an incremental, long-term, total community effort differing in philosophy and effect from capital intensive, quick-fix projects. It is not driven by political goals or agendas, but by the vision and labor of ordinary people who become extraordinary.
|4 What can other communities do to improve their downtowns without engaging in Missouri Main Street services?||
Other communities can start to improve their downtown districts by engaging the public in dialogue about their downtown, how do they want it to look, feel and how it can become a destination for all walks of life to work, play and live. Set short-term and long-term goals and engage the community to implement activities that will make their vision a reality.
|5 What area of the downtown in Blue Springs needs the most attention?||
Again, that is not for an outsider to determine. This must come from the community, by engaging in thoughtful dialogue. It seemed to be evident through our public meeting that the stakeholders of Blue Springs want to give attention to the district as a whole, embracing historic preservation, business retention, business recruitment and making Downtown Blue Springs the center of commercial and social activity.