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Become a partner with Historic Midtown Development Group

Saturday, April 28, 2007

On the local level, our members and volunteers make up our closest partnership. Each person and each business can make a positive impact, and it is community support that the Historic Midtown Development Group thrives on. Are you a member yet? You don't have to be a businessman or businesswoman -- some of our greatest help comes from retirees, and I want to see more stay-at-home parents, singles, teachers, students, teenagers, and people from all walks of life join us and make our community the best it can be. Call me at 380-3801 for more information.

The city of Sikeston is currently co-sponsoring a Missouri Department of Transportation Enhancement Grant with the Historic Midtown Development Group, which will allow us to get a jump-start on downtown beautification. The city of Sikeston also continues to uncover and repair our original brick streets and assist us in efforts to keep our parks clean.

Other important local support comes from (but is not limited to) the Sikeston Public Library, the Sikeston Area Humane Society and the Sikeston Depot Museum. We work closely with these organizations to make improvements to Downtown Sikeston, bring events and people to our community and increase awareness of the importance of each.

We are so lucky to have a great library right in the heart of Downtown Sikeston. Have you read a good book lately? The Sikeston Public Library offers fun and educational activities, as well as that classic or hot-off-the-press book, for both children and adults at library facilities and off-site. You'll find our librarians in the schools and in the parks, often in conjunction with the Historic Midtown Development Group's downtown events.

The Sikeston Depot Museum is a shining gem in Downtown Sikeston. It brings Sikeston's history within one's grasp and showcases marvelous artwork from the local level up. Not every small or mid-size town is lucky enough to have such a facility, and the Historic Midtown Development Group will continue to support and work closely with the Depot at events held in Downtown Sikeston.

I don't know about you, but I don't know what I'd do without my cats (I love dogs too, so dog-lovers, don't hate me)! I have a big, affectionate black cat who came from the Sikeston Area Humane Society nine years ago. This is another one of our great local partnerships. If you've been to our recent event, Sikeston in Bloom, no doubt you've seen those Humane Society volunteers. Did you win a cake in the cake walk? Did your pet win in the talent contest? The Sikeston Area Humane Society sponsored those activities, and the Historic Midtown Development Group appreciates their participation. Want a great friend? Adopt a dog or cat from the Sikeston Area Humane Society -- and please spay or neuter!

Well-established partnerships are vital to any organization and Sikeston's Historic Midtown Development Group is proud to partner with other local and state entities. We support each other in our efforts, and by doing so, we become better-rounded.

At the state level, the Historic Midtown Development Group is closely associated with Missouri Main Street Connections and continues to foster a future association with the state's D.R.E.A.M. Initiative. Downtown Revitalization and Economic Assistance for Missouri (D.R.E.A.M.) is an initiative based on the collaboration of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the Missouri Development Finance Board, and the Missouri Housing Development Commission. Select communities are provided access to technical and financial assistance necessary to accomplish downtown revitalization efforts. Although Sikeston was not selected to become a D.R.E.A.M. community in 2006, the Historic Midtown Development Group is taking advantage of the training seminars offered and will reapply for consideration as a D.R.E.A.M. community this year.

Representatives from Missouri Main Street Connections, the state branch of the National Trust's Main Street Program (www.mainstreet.org), were instrumental in getting the Historic Midtown Development Group on its feet. Bridgette Eppel and Gayla Roten, my contemporaries from Washington, Missouri, and Branson, Missouri, respectively, have generously given and continue to give their time and expertise to help make us a community organization that succeeds. Currently, we are at the second Affiliate level, which means we have some work to do in order to move up two levels to be a Certified community. There are only seven Main Street-certified communities in Missouri -- Sikeston can be the eighth!

What does the future hold for the Historic Midtown Development Group and its partners? Achievements and triumphs! Keep a watchful eye for small signs of progress -- it is being made as I write. For updates, go to our Web site - www.downtownsikeston.org -- join our mailing list, share your memories, and be a part of better things to come!