“An Overnight Success Nine Years in the Making” – This was the title of the presentation New Castle Main Street delivered at the National Main Street Conference during the week of March 26-29. At this four-day conference held in Boston, Massachusetts, attendees met, collaborated, and participated in workshops with Main Street employees, board members, and community leaders from all over the country.
New Castle Main Street was asked to lead one of the above-mentioned workshops due to the success the local organization has experienced. Carrie Barrett (New Castle Main Street), Corey Murphy (New Castle Henry County Economic Development Corporation), Brittany Miller (Indiana Landmarks), and Duke Hamm (a downtown building owner and New Castle Main Street board member), spoke on the various programs instituted that led to significant business growth and building renovations in historic downtown New Castle.
Carrie Barrett referred to the work that has taken place since the organization began in 2014 as a “Cinderella Story.” Corey Murphy spoke on the incredible transformation throughout the community since his arrival in position as President of the New Castle Henry County Economic Development Corporation. He referred to the history of the community, its unique ties to automotive manufacturing, and the grieving and loss of self-esteem that took place when Chrysler left.
Brittany Miller added to the presentation, speaking on the importance of historic building maintenance and sharing about the success of the local Business Renovation Assistance Program (BRAP) stating, “This program received recognition locally and nationally. We didn’t know if this was going to be a success when we started. Happily it worked out better than we could have imagined.”
Duke Hamm, gave his perspective as both a New Castle Main Street board member and downtown building owner, and shared about the dedication of New Castle Main Street. Sharing, “I truly believe my business partner and I would not have bought our building without the great things being done by New Castle Main Street. The BRAP program has attracted new business, created jobs and helped generate market-rate housing.”
Corey Murphy ended the well-attended workshop by speaking on the importance of building relationships with business owners and community members alike.
“Take care of the ones that are there, and imagine the story you can tell,” Murphy shared. “We are all moving together understanding that history is our most important asset”.
Out of the 1,900 individuals attending the conference, New Castle Main Street had one of the largest delegations with several local community leaders and individuals taking part in the conference. Local attendees in addition to the presenters included Main Street employee Emily Hurst, Mayor Greg York, City Councilmen Aaron Dicken and Rex Peckinpaugh, and community members Brittany Dicken, Larry Abrams, Kerry Smith, Nan Polk, and Ed Hill.
“New Castle Main Street is more than an organization,” noted Executive Director Carrie Barrett. “We are a convener, aiming to bring entities together for the overall thriving of our community. The large group who came to support us is a wonderful representation of what can happen when we all work together.”
City Councilman Aaron Dicken designed a t-shirt that was chosen by the Indiana Delegation and worn by all attendees state-wide. All attendees left the conference with a wealth of new information, feeling inspired to return home and get to work for their community.
Nan Polk, who serves on the New Castle Redevelopment Commission expressed her gratitude after the event, sharing, “I am honored to be around people who care so much about their community, especially our local fearless leaders.”