Pontiac, MI - Highland Township's Downtown Development Authority (DDA) captured the "Spirit of Main Street" award as nine downtowns were honored Thursday night during the gala celebration at the Flagstar Strand Theatre for the Performing Arts in Pontiac.
The Highland Township DDA received a $2,000 cash award from Genisys Credit Union as the "Spirit of Main Street" winner for its unique video themed "Live Highland, Shop Highland," highlighting community businesses like Maher Feed and Pet Supply, Comeback Inn, and Jeni's Ugly Pies. The video chronicles how the Highland DDA and community came together to support local businesses during the pandemic, including $28,000 in business support grants from the Highland DDA and a community-driven crowdfunding campaign that raised $100,000 to support the Comeback Inn.
"These downtowns are what make Oakland County such a vibrant and attractive place for residents, visitors and entrepreneurs," said Oakland County Executive David Coulter. "The Main Street program is an essential partner, providing resources, training and grants that have helped communities navigate and emerge from the challenges of the last two years."
Other winners were:
- Main Street Leader: Ken VanPortfliet, Lake Orion
- Main Street Safe: Downtown Collaboration Studio, Rochester
- Main Street Open: COVID Relief in the Circuit Social District, Pontiac
- Main Street Innovator: Rod Charles, Oxford
- Power in Our Places: Welcome Back to Ortonville Mural, Ortonville
- Campaign for Main Street: #Stronger Together, Oxford and Lake Orion
- Transforming the Economy: The Syndicate Social District, Farmington
- Program on the Rise: Wednesdays in Wixom, Wixom
Coulter also recognized and welcomed Lyon Township and the Huron Corridor—Pontiac as the newest members of the MSOC program. Nearly 200 people joined him at the Main Street Oakland County (MSOC) Main Event to recognize and honor communities, businesses, and volunteers for their efforts to preserve and energize their downtowns.
The judging panel was comprised of experts in historic preservation and economic development, including Elizabeth Chase, Nebraska Main Streets Network, Inc.; Theresa Doan, Genisys Credit Union; Kitty Dougood, Kentucky Heritage Council; Elizabeth King, Michigan Economic Development Corp.; Tad Krear, Land Design Studio; Kathy La Plante, National Main Street Center; Dominic Romano, Michigan Economic Development Corp.; Ray Scriber, Louisiana Main Street; Cristina Sheppard-Decius, POW! Strategies, Inc.; Tony Tomczak, DTE Energy; and Dana Walker, Michigan Downtowns Association.
The event's sponsors included the DTE Foundation, as the presenting sponsor; Genisys Credit Union, SMART; McLaren Oakland; Dobrusin Strategic Intellectual Property Law; and the Oakland County Business Finance Corporation.
Other highlights of the event included the keynote presentation and book signing by nationally renowned Mary Means, founder of the national Main Street program; recognition of Auburn Hills and South Lyon advancing to the Partner Program level; and MSOC passing a milestone of $1 billion in cumulative public and private investment since 2001.
About Main Street Oakland County
Main Street Oakland County (MSOC) is our unique economic development program for downtowns, with a historic preservation philosophy and an emphasis on "sense of place." We assist local governments, downtown management organizations and nonprofit organizations develop their downtowns and historic commercial corridors as vibrant, successful districts that serve as the heart of their communities. Established in 2000, MSOC is the nation's first and only county-wide coordinating Main Street program. Our mission is to maximize the economic potential and to preserve the heritage and sense of place of Oakland County's historic downtowns and commercial districts by encouraging and facilitating the use of the Main Street Four-Point Approach® that emphasizes comprehensive economic development within the context of historic preservation. Since 2001, the cumulative total for new public and private investment in MSOC downtowns is $1,044,243,193.