Neighbors in the Strip Accredited as a National Main Street Program
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Pop City Media
Neighbors in the Strip, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting economic development in the Strip District, has been awarded designation as an accredited National Main Street Program by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The prestigious designation is based on a ten point set of criteria, which ultimately demonstrates that an organization has leveraged local historic and business assets to thoroughly promote revitalization of a neighborhood business district.
Neighbors in the Strip was formed in 1999 by stakeholders wishing to better promote economic transformation in the neighborhood, while maintaining its historic character. A decade ago, “the perception of crime in the strip was very high,” notes Becky Rodgers, Executive Director of NITS. “Looking back over the past ten years, with a lot of hard work from the police, the DA’s office, and the stakeholders, crime has decreased in the Strip by 58 percent. If you want to keep economic development happening, you have to keep crime down.”
In addition to making the neighborhood safer, NITS works with local proprietors to promote business. In fact, forty new businesses are scheduled to open soon, including a public market, which will be opening in August.
“We’re mainly zoned urban-industrial in the Strip, which is sort of the wild west of zoning,” says Becky. “So when a new project comes along, there are certain zoning exceptions that have to go in front of the zoning board, and we go with business owners to the board to support those variances.”
Other factors that lead to the Main Street designation include NITS’ strong cooperation with its partners, which include the City, the URA, and a large number of non-profits, as well as the substantial grant programs they offer. Neighbors in the Strip has played a key role in helping the neighborhood evolve into a residential area in the 2000’s, aided by their Upper Floor Grant, which encourages the residential development of underutilized floors above commercial businesses.
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Source: Becky Rodgers, Executive Director of Neighbors in the Strip
Writer: John Farley