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Main Street Matters: Reflecting on A Nine-Year ‘Overnight Success’

Since 2014, New Castle Main Street has been helping revitalize downtown New Castle. In 2022 alone, 11 new businesses opened in the Main Street district, which is from 11th Street to 15th Street and from Vine to Central. A total of 51 businesses are now located in the district, and 17 of those businesses have female owners. Three new market-rate apartments are also part of the ongoing revitalization.

New Castle Main Street Executive Director Carrie Barrett explains, “The Main Street movement is committed to strengthening our community through preservation-based economic development.”

The mission of the New Castle Main Street is to act as a catalyst to develop and sustain a unique and thriving downtown for residents, business merchants, property owners, and visitors so that the communities of New Castle and Henry County, Indiana flourish. New Castle Main Street has carried out this mission with partnerships, entrepreneurship efforts, and events.

Building Renovation Assistance Program (BRAP)

The Building Renovation Assistance Program (BRAP) is a partnership with New Castle Main Street, City of New Castle, Indiana Landmarks, and the New Castle Redevelopment Commission. This innovative, local initiative facilitated improvements to downtown properties. Building owners matched the first $400,000 round of these grants with over $800,000 in private investments. The owners used grant funds to restore the appearance of their buildings, create jobs, build business diversity. The program succeeded in fostering business resiliency within New Castle.

“New Castle Main Street has a vital role to play in building community wealth and shared prosperity for every resident in New Castle and Henry County, Indiana,” Barrett shared. “We worked closely with our Redevelopment Commission to discover what our business owners needed most and how we could remove obstacles for them. This program has created inclusive, sustainable, and equitable economic success in our community and helps to ensure future prosperity for our small community.”

Encouraging Entrepreneurship

New Castle Main Street supports entrepreneurship in collaboration with the New Castle-Henry County Economic Development Corporation through Henry County Creates. Henry County Creates provides support and education for budding entrepreneurs through the Business Builders workshop series. The program is open to people who want to start a local business and to those who are already working to make their business dreams come true. Students can also take part in the workshops. The program culminates in a pitch contest that awards up to $5,000.

POPPED is another initiative of Henry County Creates. This shop, located at the corner of Broad and 11th streets, is a place for entrepreneurs to “test drive” a brick-and-mortar store for a day, week, or weekend. So far, the vendors who have used POPPED experienced a positive response, and many are making plans for brick-and-mortar shops long-term. POPPED is made possible by the generous donation of space by Mike and Patty Broyles and Scott Frost. These building owners refurbished the building to prepare it for POPPED.

“Entrepreneurship is a key component of economic growth in Henry County. New Castle Main Street and its partners strive to connect entrepreneurs with the resources they need to thrive in their endeavors,” notes Barrett.

Events Bring Excitement to Downtown

There are many events that happen in downtown New Castle including Broad Street Cruise-Ins, Fourth Fridays, Live @ The Arts Park Concerts, New Castle On Tap, the Christmas Walk, and parades. New Castle Main Street supports all downtown activities, but specifically produces the Fourth Friday events and New Castle On Tap.

Every fourth Friday of the month in the summer months a free concert is held at the 1400 Plaza stage. Concerts range from heavy rock to acoustic folk music. Activities, vendors, and food trucks make Fourth Fridays a monthly destination event for families and even companies who want to offer a “company picnic,” atmosphere downtown.

The New Castle On Tap festival is an annual event in March where breweries and wineries come from all over the state to set up booths at the Arts Park Pavilion. Participants can wander through the rows of vendors and taste different creations.

Emily Hurst (left) recently joined Carrie Barrett on the Main Street team.
Momentum Continues in 2023

The positive momentum continues as New Castle Main Street begins a new year. The recently hired Emily Hurst joins the Main Street team, and Hurst has been instrumental in creating systems and processes for New Castle Main Street.

Board members and city leaders are currently preparing to attend the Main Street national conference in Boston this spring, where New Castle Main Street has been asked to present.

As the year unfolds, the community is encouraged to follow New Castle Main Street on Facebook and Instagram to stay informed about events and opportunities to continue to support the revitalization of Downtown New Castle.


Main Street Matters- Before and After

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