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March 27, 2013

Rochester snaps up two Main Street Oakland County awards

By Mary Beth Almond
C & G Staff Writer

ROCHESTER — The Roch-ester Downtown Development Authority took home two awards during the 2013 Main Street Oakland County awards celebration, held earlier this month at the Royal Oak Music Theater.
Created in 2008, the event honors member communities of the Main Street Oakland County program for their downtown development efforts in five categories: special, organization, promotion, design and economic restructuring.

In the organization category, Rochester received the Outstanding Fundraising Project Award for its Downtown Yard Sale series — which gave the public three opportunities to own a piece of Rochester’s history. In June, the DDA held its first Downtown Yard Sale of remnants from the Main Street Makeover, which DDA Executive Director Kristi Trevarrow said was a huge success and brought in close to $2,400 — the goal set for two sales. So, the DDA decided to hold two more sales — one in August and one in September — selling everything from fire hydrants and traffic signals to light poles, parking meters, bricks and other items taken from Main Street.

“The results, in terms of what was raised, were outstanding,” Trevarrow said. “We raised over $42,000 — and that’s for all the things that people were just going to throw away — which went right back into the streetscape.”

Trevarrow said the DDA plans to hold one final Downtown Yard Sale this June to clear out any remaining infrastructure items, as well as the sheep from the Ewe Revue 2 Public Art Project.

The Rochester DDA also received an Outstanding Public Investment Award under the economic restructuring category for the Main Street Makeover.

Trevarrow said the DDA was “overwhelmed” and “excited” to receive the award.

“Most people, when they do a construction project, don’t really think ‘Wow, we could win an award for this.’ Looking back a year ago, that was not even on our radar, so we were very excited to receive an award for our efforts on the Main Street Makeover.”

Construction crews began working in downtown Rochester April 2, kicking off the $7.6 million reconstruction project commonly known as the Main Street Makeover. The project, which took place through November, was a joint effort of the Michigan Department of Transportation, the city of Rochester and the Rochester Downtown Development Authority. The purpose of the project was to reconstruct Main Street from the Clinton River bridge to the Paint Creek bridge, improve water service to the area and add streetscape improvements downtown. On Nov. 21, two days earlier than expected, all five lanes of Main Street were reopened to traffic.

Trevarrow said the project was really a success because the community and the businesses stepped up to support it.

“It was a group effort, and I think that’s what really spoke to the committee who awarded us that. It wasn’t really just about making a pretty project; it was about the whole package, from start to finish — that it was not a construction project, it was a makeover, and how everyone was able to get behind us,” she said.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, who congratulated the winners for the contributions they make to create “desirable and viable downtowns,” said Main Street Oakland County is a model for other Main Street programs across the country.

“Main Street is an economic development program that works, and it continues to grow as we added Birmingham to the family this year,” Patterson said in a statement. “This is a vital tool that improves our downtowns and our county.”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond at malmond@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1060.