By: Colin McEvoy | The Express-Times
A nonprofit organization that aims to enhance Easton‘s central business district has received national recognition for the sixth straight year.
The Easton Main Street Initiative was accredited by the National Main Street Center, a subsidiary by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Out of 61 communities considered, the Easton initiative was one of 25 in Pennsylvania to be accredited this year by the center, according to its acting director, Valecia Crisafulli.
“Accredited Main Street programs are meeting the challenges of the downtown in the economy head on and are successfully using a focused, comprehensive revitalization strategy to keep their communities vibrant and sustainable,” Crisafulli said.
Kim Kmetz, the Easton initiative’s main street manager, said she is proud of the accreditation, which she said shows the organization is on the right track for continued success in revitalizing Downtown Easton.
“The slow, steady and impactful changes we have been making over the last seven years have helped to make this downtown a place that people now want to use as their ‘third place,’ after home and work,” Kmetz said.
The Easton Main Street Initiative was chosen based on several accomplishments, such as downtown beautification projects that resulted in more than 100 plantings, three artist-designed bike racks and a 107-foot Lafayette Hotel mural.
Other accomplishments include the launching of a Downtown Easton mobile app, and its marketing efforts that included the printing of 50,000 maps and guides, according to the center.
The Easton Main Street Initiative also organized 19 summer music concerts at the Riverside Amphitheatre and Centre Square through three concert series: Live in the Square, Live at Riverside and Tunes at Noon.
The initiative logged 1,557.5 volunteer hours in 2012. At a value of $21.25 per hour, that means about $33,100 was given back to the community, according to the center.
“This accreditation means so much to the volunteers who continue to work diligently with the staff to take all of the fresh ideas, transform them into well thought-out plans and ultimately, successful events and projects,” Kmetz said.
The Easton Main Street Initiative is a subsidiary of the Greater Easton Development Partnership.
The center uses evaluation criteria to identify communities building comprehensive revitalization efforts. Evaluation standards include forming strong public-private partnerships, securing an operating budget, tracking economic progress and preserving historic buildings.
Contact reporter Colin McEvoy at 610-258-7171 ex. 3631 or email@example.com.