History Mission FAQs Activities Benefits
|• Design Assistance
• Referral Services
• Rippling Effect
• Merchandising Techniques
• Business Recruitment
• Coordinated Promotional Activities
• Increased Property Values
• National Resource Network
• Sense of Pride in Community
• Rent Stability or Increase
• Better Image
• Development of Tourism
• Educational Opportunities
• Increased Tax Base
• Healthy Public-Private Partnership
• Historical Awareness
• Communication among Business and Property Owners
• A Viable Downtown is a Draw for Industry
• ... and much more!
Strategies and Outcomes:
The organization committee’s strategy is to get everyone involved and moving in the same direction. They actively recruit volunteers and solicit memberships. Everyone has a job and they understand what they are supposed to do. A monthly newsletter is distributed community wide to keep the residents informed of Main Street activities. New resident, new business, and new member welcome packets include information about the program. The membership base continues to grow and, 4,289 volunteer hours have been tracked in 2011.
El Reno Main Street has helped to establish a healthy public-private partnership, historical awareness, communication among business and property owners, business assistance, and a resource library available to the public at no charge for use of any materials.
Selling the image of downtown in a positive manner encourages investment in the area and creates economic vitality. The committee strategy was to create a mix of special, retail and image events that would generate enthusiasm and pride. In addition, a comprehensive marketing campaign was created. The outcomes of the strategies are not always measurable. We know tax collections have increased, there are 112 new or expanded businesses, 302 new jobs and 69 buildings have been purchased. That all indicates confidence in the district. The memories that are being created for our youth are not measurable. Their feelings about El Reno and the downtown activities will be reflected in the years to come. El Reno Main Street has received 32 awards at the annual Oklahoma Main Street Banquet.
A few examples are: “Burger Day” – best special event; “Upper Story Tour” – best economic restructuring story; “Legacy Collection” – best fund-raiser; “Downtown Sidewalk Improvement Project” – best public improvement project; “Adventures in History” – best community education/public awareness; “El Reno Centennial Celebration at Youngheim Plaza” – best centennial celebration; “Heels and Hose Fundraiser” – best creative new event and the top 100 events, out of 38,000 in the nation, by Special Event Magazine. The Spend Christmas at Home–Shop Downtown promotion will encourage local shopping through the holiday, as customers collect tickets to win $3,000 in Main Street Bucks.
The goal of the Design Committee is to restore the district to its original grandeur by capitalizing on our historic buildings. This is being accomplished by creating an appealing atmosphere through building improvements, signage, landscaping, window displays and pedestrian friendly sidewalks. Measurable outcomes include 90 façade renovations and 141 building rehabilitation projects at a private investment of $5,751,041.
Downtown is home to three pocket parks: Heroes Plaza, a monument honoring all Canadian County men and women who lost their lives in the four wars; Petree Plaza, a gathering place and event venue for the community; and Youngheim Plaza, almost completed as a Centennial project.
We are fortunate to have very progressive, visionary individuals in the Community Development Department at the City. They work closely with the Main Street design committee to help property owners who are interested in restoring their upper floors for housing. The
Design Committee and Economic Restructuring Committee work hard to find solutions to the issues that discourage housing projects.
After the Upper Story Tour (a Main Street project), five of 15 vacant upper floors were developed for housing and office space. The response to the development spurred interest in other property owners and additional upper floor restorations occurred.
El Reno Main Street has the reputation of assisting small businesses, whatever their need might be. All business and property owners receive updates with information on window displays, available design programs, business consultation services, cooperative advertising opportunities, etc. We have established the “Main Street Express,” an e-mail network set up for interested persons and members to receive important information via Main Street’s many subscriptions and networks. Many seminars have been held for the businesses.
Topics have included: good window displays: appropriate lighting of inventory; marketing plans; customer service, etc. The El Reno Main Street’s monthly newsletter reaches 10,000 local readers, members, and district business and property owners, educating all about events, projects, available assistance, programs for businesses, etc. El Reno is blessed to have the Canadian Valley Technology Center. They have a special Business and Industry Division that provides training and resources for new and existing businesses. CVTC has partnered with local organizations (including Main Street) to strengthen the business community.
Through market analysis, space identification, negotiating rent and utility deposits, and reducing startup costs are some of the ways Main Street helps new business owners.
Reinvestment figures that are tracked monthly are the best indication of the economic impact. As seen in the revitalization statistics provided earlier, reinvestment in downtown El Reno is almost $10 million.
Downtown occupancy is at its highest level since the oil boom. The first floor vacancy rate was almost 20% in 1988; it has been reduced to fewer than 5%. Many businesses have come into the downtown and more are looking to relocate or open downtown.
El Reno has passed a $3 million sales tax increase for the public golf course, a $9.6 million bond issue for public school improvements and an $18 million bond issue for infrastructure improvements. Over $30 million in public improvements! The impact of that commitment to a small community is overwhelming.
El Reno has seen numerous community developments, including the beginning of four separate housing developments, new industry, an eight screen movie theatre, several restaurants, and the pending implementation of El Reno’s first Tax Increment Financing district.
El Reno is in the midst of completing a three-year Capital Improvement Program that upgraded recreational facilities citywide utilizing an increase in the city’s sales tax rate, along with other bond issues. Over $25 million has been invested in capital improvement projects to date.
The Main Street Program has proven to be very successful. The single most important factor attributable to that success is the hundreds of volunteers who have given thousands of hours to the revitalization of downtown. The men, women, children and businesses who have given their time, energy, enthusiasm, creativity and financial support show true commitment to this community. They are sincerely appreciated and are to be commended for their dedication.
Many other exciting things are happening, or have happened, downtown. Any suggestions, concerns, or comments on how to improve the program are welcomed. Feel free to come by or call the Main Street office at any time.
El Reno Main Street
119 S. Rock Island
El Reno, OK 73036