The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

May 11, 2014

Main Street starting revitalization program

By Jessica Miller, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Ideas for downtown Enid are being sought for a new program created by Main Street Enid.

Main Street Enid Board President John Arend recently told the Enid Regional Development Alliance that the Food for Thought program is being launched, with events set to begin this fall.

“We have a lot of people come to us downtown with creative ideas that fit within Main Street’s mission of revitalizing downtown and we wanted to create kind of an avenue for them to accomplish those ideas,” he said.

Arend explained that Main Street Enid will collect ideas that fit within the mission of revitalizing downtown.

“That could be anything from a landscaping project, a facade renovation, an educational opportunity or it could even be a business plan,” he said.

Main Street Enid Director Kelly Tompkins added ideas could include a recycling program or a piece of public art.

“It could be any number of things because Main Street encompasses so many topics downtown,” she said.

Beginning in October, Main Street Enid will host five separate events for people to vote on project ideas. Five project ideas will be selected by a committee for each event.

Those wishing to attend an event will pay $15 at the door for dinner and will be allowed to vote on one of the five projects presented at that event, Arend said.

“At the end of the night, whichever project gets the most votes from all these people that attend, will receive the money that was paid at the door,” he said.

The dinner will be funded by Main Street Enid and through sponsorships, Tompkins said.

“That way, all of the fees from everyone coming in will go directly to the project,” she said.

The recipient of the most votes will have 90 days to make some progress on their proposed concept. Tompkins said Main Street Enid will hold the monetary award and will reimburse the recipient as the project progresses.

“We seem to have so much excitement downtown, we think we can pull it off,” she said.

Arend asked the ERDA to match the funds paid at the door of each event — to increase the amount going to the selected project.

“We’re hoping that we’ll start around 30 or 40 people at each event, and hopefully that number will grow,” he said. “We would love to have you guys help us out, getting this off the ground.”

Arend said a selection committee for projects is being assembled and if the ERDA assists with the program, an ERDA representative would be invited to participate on the committee.

Park Avenue Thrift has agreed that if the ERDA matches the funds at the door, Park Avenue also will match those funds — bringing the total to $45 per person in attendance, Tompkins said.

Tompkins said she thought the ERDA’s commitment per event would be somewhere between $450 and $750 if there were 30 to 50 attendees.

ERDA members did not take action on assisting with the program during a meeting last week.

Tompkins said project submissions would have to be in by September.

Applications may be found at mainstreetenid.org.

Note: Front-page image from mainstreetenid.org.