by KAREN LAGRANGE COX
News from BY’s Neighbors
Main Street programs, like the one in St. Martinville in St. Martin Parish, can help to revitalize the once thriving historic downtown commercial districts. Many downtown districts struggle to this day.
The program is run by the St. Martinville Main Street Association. This volunteer-based organization promotes economic development, historic preservation, and beautification of the downtown area. The city’s Main Street Program is part of the Louisiana Main Street Program, which was started in 1984.
Like other Main Street Programs, the St. Martinville Main Street Program, established in 1992, uses a four-point approach to focus on four key areas to revitalize downtown St. Martinville: design, economic restructuring, organization, and promotion.
- Design: grants for facade updates or a change in infrastructure can be utilized for Main Street beautification.
- Economic restructuring – fundraising and the chamber
- Organization – board ensures other committees work together.
- Promotion – all of the above. Promoting the St. Martinville Main Street Program includes promotional activities and materials both online and with printed materials.
Currently, with the St. Martinville Main Street Program
Re-Incentive Grants for Businesses
Businesses awarded Reincentive Grants can use the funds for any repairs on the business building. Reincentive grants are available for eligible businesses in the National (Square) or the City District. More than one-hundred grants have been awarded to local businesses.
The Creole Farmer’s Market
The Creole Farmer’s Market occurs in St. Martinville’s Historic District. This Market has local vendors selling homegrown produce and hand-made crafts.
Plans for the St. Martinville Main Street Program
With grant funding, the St. Martinville Main Street program wants to have QR codes created and placed on each building in the city’s Historic District. When the QR code is scanned, the user will be taken to a building-specific page on the city’s website that will provide the user with photos and information on the building along with the current and, when possible, past businesses located there.
Location Change for the Pageant
The city wants to change the Miss St. Martin Parish Pageant to one that would identify with St. Martinville, with the pageant queen being the city ambassador. This change would signify that the pageant focuses on St. Martinville, not just the parish.
The plan is to have the pageant become the Miss St. Martinville Main Street Pageant. Other cities with Main Street programs could follow suit, having a Miss Louisiana Main Street Pageant. The winner of the state pageant could compete on the national level.
Changing the pageant to one representing the city would emphasize community service and involvement in St. Martinville, focusing on its history, culture, and development. These criteria help ensure that the pageant encourages local community participation and that the winner genuinely connects to the city.
Pepper Capital of the World
On the agenda is to have St. Martinville declared the Pepper Capital of the World. Once this declaration is made, it will help St. Martinville with both recreation and tourism.
5K Color Run
A 5K Color Run is being considered as a future event for the city.
The St. Martinville Main Street Program is under the Louisiana Main Street Program, under the directorship of Ray Scriber.
The director for the city’s Main Street Program is Danielle Fontenotte. The program as twelve board members with Gisele Bulliard serving as the program’s board president.
The St. Martinville Main Street program falls under the newly structured Cultural, Recreation, and Tourism (CRT) which is an initiative of the city.
To learn more about St. Martinville, visit its website.