Last week, our Executive Director Cristie Thomas and Board President Sarah Arnold spent three days in Columbus, OH to enjoy yet another annual conference by Heritage Ohio. This yearly conference brings together the Main Street and preservation communities from across the state of Ohio to learn best practice, meet vendors in the field, and hear from experts on a wide range of topics.
Over the course of the three days, we toured historic buildings in the process of restoration, networked with fellow Main Street staffers and volunteers, and had the honor of listening to the moving words of Keynote Speaker Robert Stanton, a civil service administrator with nearly four decades of work in the U.S. National Park Service. Mr. Stanton was also the first African-American to be appointed as the Director of the Park Service. His words of wisdom uplifted the power of inclusive communities and of youth leadership, as well as the significance of our historic towns.
The incredible lineup of this year's sessions, including our Keynote Speaker, created a long list of "to-dos" for us at Marietta Main Street, and we look forward to exploring that list with our Board of Directors and committees.
However, the most exciting, rewarding, and uplifting moment of the whole conference took place at The Ohio Statehouse for Heritage Ohio's Annual Awards Ceremony. Over 100 distinguished guests gathered to recognize 2017's award winners in restoration, beautification, and revitalization. Nominations for each award were submitted from across the state of Ohio and decided by a jury with oversight from Heritage Ohio
By the end of the night, our beloved Marietta walked away with not one, not two, but four awards. We are proud, humbled, and so grateful to all involved in nominating the below award winners. Thank you Marietta! Thank you Heritage Ohio!
There's lots of work left to be done, but together we know we can get there!
Recognition & Awards
#1: 2017 Main Street America Accreditation
Marietta Main Street is evaluated on an annual basis in regard to both internal and external practices, impact, and strategy. Once again, for the 4th year in a row, we receive national accreditation as an official Main Street Community - one of over 1k across the U.S.!
#2: 2017 Scenic Ohio Award
Scenic Ohio, a statewide organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing the scenic character of Ohio's communities and countrysides, awarded the City of Marietta their 2017 Scenic Ohio Award for efforts led by the Marietta-Washington County CVB to preserve, beautify, and promote Ohio's scenic byways and more.
#3: Main Street Business of the Year
This year, Heritage Ohio awarded our very own Marietta Adventure Company with the 2017 Main Street Business of the Year Award. Owned by Ryan Smith and Hallie Taylor, the MAC crew goes above and beyond not only to ensure their business strategies are current, strong, and ready to grow, but their service to the community is unmatched.
Some quotes from one of their nominations can be found below, all of which highlight the contribution Marietta Adventure Company has made to our growing community.
"Over the course of the last decade, local volunteers have built and maintained Marietta’s mountain biking trails which now total 30+ miles of track. Last year, the leadership of Ryan Smith and his team of go-getters warranted the dedication of Gunlock Park, a patch of land that was cleaned out, built on, and beautified into Ohio's first fully-paved pump track."
"Marietta Adventure Company’s commitment to their mission as a business has shifted the identity of Marietta. Once known solely for unique boutiques and our vast history, Marietta is now an outdoor adventure destination. By bringing in that kind of customer from hours away, MAC is continuing to build up Marietta’s reputation as an outdoor adventure destination every single time they sell a product, guide a tour, or promote our town."
#4: Main Street Director of the Year
Cristie Thomas, Executive Director of Marietta Main Street, was called out as this year's winner of the Main Street Director of the Year Award. With Cristie's tenure as ED being just short of two full years, she already holds the title of the longest running Main Street Director in Marietta. Along with our Board of Directors, Cristie's leadership has created space for Marietta Main Street to be strategic, grow our resources, capture and promote our impact, and build new relationships across the entire Marietta community. The Marietta Main Street that stands today is not the same Main Street of two years ago - with a renewed focus on our mission and in best practices for the revitalization of our historic downtown, Cristie has energized our Board and our community with her passion, expertise, and care for our community!
The below quotes from one of Cristie's nominations capture more insight about her leadership and her impact on Marietta Main Street since she took the position in January 2016.
"Marietta Main Street has accomplished more in the past 18 months than I would have previously expected to occur within five years. Although the organization has never stopped moving, and each committee has always operated with annual goals to work towards and accomplish, the organization transitioned from surviving to thriving under Cristie’s strong leadership."
"Since January of 2016, Marietta Main Street has launched an individual giving campaign, completely over-hauled our partnership program, launched a downtown Farmers Market, hosted a Historic Preservation series, launched First Fridays, hosted The Small Business Revolution as a Top 8 Finalist, launched a mural gallery program and installed three public
art projects, hosted more than 125 events, and as of last month, instated Committee Meetings, launched the #MyMarietta Downtown Shopping Pass Program, and rolled out a new logo and branding suite – and much, much more."
"We are improving tracking systems, we are rethinking the way our meetings are run, we are strategic with how we move forward. Because of Cristie, Marietta Main Street is strengthening its foundation for sustained success for years to come. Although we have a ways to go, our Board of Directors and our community has never felt more confident in Marietta Main Street’s future. We are a strong, passionate organization led by a strong, passionate, able leader who is committed to our success."