FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - March 26, 2021

Harrisburg, PA – The National Main Street Center announces the winners of the Main Street Resiliency Grant Program, which will provide nine Accredited Main Street America programs and one Coordinating Program with $8,500 each to fund efforts that will help them navigate the impacts of the pandemic and position their communities for a full recovery.

“These grant recipients demonstrate the creativity and entrepreneurial thinking that have historically driven successful revitalization on Main Street and will be key to navigating recovery,” said Main Street America’s President and CEO Patrice Frey. “I’m inspired by the innovative projects these communities have proposed, and I know they will serve as models and sources of inspiration for Main Street programs across the country as they enter the next phase of reopening.”

This grant fund is made possible through the generosity of Joe and Marge Grills of Rapidan, Virginia. The Grills have been long-time leaders in supporting Main Street at both the national and local level, including funding $80,000 worth of grants to Main Street communities in the spring of 2020. Joe has served as a founding member of the National Main Street Center Board since 2013, and they are dedicated supporters of Main Street America programs in Orange and Culpeper, Virginia.

"We spoke with many downtown businesses who repeatedly told us that the needs of unhomed and vulnerable individuals needed addressed if our community was to become the world-class downtown we collectively envision, said Emily Fetcko, Assistant Director, Erie Downtown Partnership. "The pandemic has placed a major stress test on all of our community’s economic and social infrastructure. Having a plan and concept to work from has allowed us to have meaningful dialogue with our social services peers and work towards better collaboration. We’re not one more person or entity pointing out what’s wrong—we’re delivering a solution. And that solution is centered on vibrant placemaking that brings dignity to the foreground.”

“I am incredibly proud of the Erie Downtown Partnership, not just for being one of nine recipients from across the nation, but for the courage and insight to focus their efforts on a project such as this with the potential to impact lives in such a transformative way. It is a poignant reminder of how we can each bring a bit more humanity to the work we do”, said Julie Fitzpatrick, Pennsylvania Downtown Center’s Executive Director. “Socially aware placemaking strengthens the connection between all people and the places we share with one another. This project positions Erie as a national leader who is showing by example the lessons, we can learn from one another, when we’re willing to pay attention to those around us, and work to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive economic climate and culture. Main Street is a place for all, and so is Erie.”

From placemaking and design solutions to small business training and community engagement events, these winning ideas represent a wide range of creative approaches to the impact of COVID-19 on Main Street. Learn more about the winning projects here.

About Pennsylvania Downtown Center

Founded in 1987, the mission of Pennsylvania Downtown Center is to build and support the capacity of local nonprofit organizations, municipalities, and individuals to enhance the overall well-being and sustainability of Pennsylvania’s core communities. PDC accomplishes this mission by engaging and educating local community leaders and volunteers, to advance the sense of place, quality of life and economic vitality of the Commonwealth's downtowns, traditional neighborhood business districts and nearby residential areas. For more information about designated Main Street or Elm Street programs or nationally accredited communities, contact Maria Wherley at (717) 870-9334 or email here.