Another year has come and gone in downtown Marietta, and as we move full steam ahead into 2018, our Board President, Sarah Arnold, offered some reflections on 2017.
As we reflect on Main Street in 2017, what stands out to you as President?
2017 was a tremendous year of growth for Marietta Main Street. Our organization was able to build on the success of 2016 and make significant changes in branding, operations, and programming that will allow us to plan farther ahead than has been possible in the past.
If you had to name 1 or 2 things that you are most proud of accomplishing in 2017, what would you say those are?
I am most proud of our community for coming together during our time in the running for the Small Business Revolution. Although Marietta did not move forward as a finalist, having our community rally together and share their love for this place is worth more to me and to Marietta Main Street than a finalist spot.
What were some of the biggest challenges Main Street faced in 2017?
As a nonprofit, funding is always a challenge – and we ran into a tight spot last spring when funding and support for maintaining our flowers fell through. Thanks to the generosity and quick action of our community, we were able to quickly fundraise the difference and make sure that our downtown was in full bloom all summer.
Looking forward, what's in store for Main Street and downtown Marietta in 2018?
As Marietta Main Street continues to streamline operations, we will be focusing our efforts on one transformative strategy each year. This year, we are excited to develop Downtown Inc., a structure for increased support and resources for our local small businesses.
There's been a lot of transition with Marietta Main Street the past 2 years. What can we expect to stay the same moving forward? What can we expect to change?
Growth requires change; As our organization matures, it continues to evolve to reflect our own growth in capacity. As a new Main Street organization, we saw a need for more events downtown, and focused much of our efforts into event planning and promotion. Now that our Downtown is flourishing and there is no longer a shortage of events, we are able to focus on other priorities, such as historic preservation, public art, and business development.
You can count on Marietta Main Street to remain dedicated to taking care of our Downtown Community. Moving forward, our events calendar may change to reflect the needs of our community, but our goal is always to bring people together to preserve, enhance, and enjoy our beautiful downtown.
As a nonprofit, Marietta Main Street faces a lot of the same threats our fellow nonprofits do: funding, resources, time, etc. What support for Main Street would make the biggest impact?
Marietta Main Street relies heavily on financial and volunteer support from our community. With only one paid staff person, our Executive Director, volunteers are not only welcomed, but needed, in order to accomplish our multi-faceted mission each year.
Financial donations are also critical to our success, as our organization receives no funds from city, county, or state sources outside of grant funding. Every dollar donated is invested into accomplishing our mission for downtown – the impact is far reaching, and every dollar counts.
What is 1 thing you wish more people knew about Marietta Main Street?
While many are familiar with one or two aspects of our mission, I wish more people realized the full scope of what Marietta Main Street is tasked with each year.
We are more than a nonprofit; we fulfill roles in economic development, city planning, historic preservation, public art, event planning, downtown beautification, small business development, marketing, tourism, and much more. We partner with other organizations, locally, state-wide, and nationally, and use our wealth of resources to do as much as we can for our downtown community.
Just for fun, if Main Street were a food, what would we be and why?
Definitely a pizza! Because everybody loves pizza and it’s a great way to bring a community together.