Berlin Hoping For Main Street Award Win Second Time Around

Photo by Charlene Sharpe

BERLIN – For the second year in a row, Berlin is in the running for the Great American Main Street Award.

Berlin is one of 10 semi-finalists for the 2018 Great American Main Street Award. The recognition is given annually to a designated Main Street community for its economic and social impact.

“This is pretty much what every Main Street organization strives for,” said Ivy Wells, Berlin’s economic development director. “This is the best award we could possibly win.”

Wells said she applied for the award last year and the town was named a semi-finalist. She applied for the award again this year and was thrilled to find out this week that the town was again in the top-10.

“It’s an honor to be a semi-finalist,” she said.

Wells said she spent numerous hours this summer completing the lengthy application for the award. She detailed the characteristics that made the town popular with residents and guests. She also compiled statistics to illustrate the number of new jobs that had been created in Berlin during the past year and how many hours volunteers spent helping out with activities in Berlin.

“There was an extremely long application,” she said.

That application, however, is what judges — a group of economic and community development professionals — will look at when they determine which town should win the 2018 Great American Main Street Award. While many of the titles Berlin has won in the past have been tied to online voting contests and polls, this award will be based upon the judges’ review of the town’s attributes.

“The Great American Main Street Award is the highest recognition given out by the National Main Street Center.” said Patrice Frey, the National Main Street Center’s president and CEO, in a news release.  “Each year, we look forward to celebrating the semi-finalists, who are exceptional Main Street America organizations, working to create more economically, socially, and culturally vibrant commercial districts. They are a testament to the power of the Main Street approach, and the great potential of downtown districts in cities and towns across the country.”

According to Frey, together, this year’s semi-finalists have generated more than half a billion dollars in public and private reinvestment. The group of 10 communities created more than 4,900 new jobs, opened 917 new businesses and rehabilitated 1,232 buildings.

Wells said the statistics showed just how successful the “shop local” movement had been throughout the country.

“We’ve got some stiff competition,” she said.

Along with Berlin, other contenders for the award are Brunswick, Maine, Chillicothe, Mo., Grapevine, Texas, Howell, Mich., Oregon City, Ore., Saline, Mich., Rock Springs, Wyo., Tupelo, Miss. and Wausau Wis. The winner will be announced in March.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.