Marceline has some big partnerships to help with Main Street USA

Recently, the Downtown Marceline organization has been obtaining some funds for a local grant match. These funds will secure a partnership that has never been undertaken by a powerful national economic development organization.

Main Street America, as well as Missouri Main Street have partnered with Downtown Marceline, for a grant that will help begin the process of rebuilding Marceline’s historic downtown.

“This is the first time that the national and state Main Street organizations have put their own money up,” said Michael Olinger, Executive Director of Downtown Marceline. “We will form specific plans, with action items, for the Main Street USA area. These organizations will remain with us through the course of the project, until it is completed.”

Olinger pointed out that the Main Street USA area extends from the area of the Walt Disney Hometown Museum to Prenger’s, as far as the areas off of Main Street itself are concerned.

The grant has a local match of $80,000. Half of this was approved at the latest Marceline City Council meeting, 20 percent is coming from the Missouri Main Street, and 10 percent each is coming from Main Street America, and Linn County. The remaining amount will come from the Marceline Area Chamber of Commerce, and Downtown Marceline.

Downtown Marceline was formed in 2013, and is a 501(c)3 organization. They held a town all in 2013 to evaluate local needs and interests. They manage the annual Wine and Art Stroll, and have also sponsored and organized the Trick or Trot Run. They also played a role in getting the Coke Wall repainted, and take part in the annual Great Northwest Day.

Their work for the future, according to Olinger, includes:

- business education

- marketing and business development

- solutions for derelict Main Street buildings

- aiding with the Ripley Park tree project

- aiding with a new concession stand in Ripley Park.

For Olinger, his interest in Marceline is a long-standing one. Olinger owns the Circle O Lodge, the Paper Station, and is a partner several other enterprises in town.

“We quickly became involved with the people of Marceline, and wanted to help revitalize this community,” said Olinger. “The time and effort that people put into this town really impresses me. Marceline has a tremendous opportunity to improve our downtown.”

Olinger continued: “We have world-class manufacturing in Marceline. Combine that with the Walt Disney Hometown Museum, and the volunteer spirit of the people, and we have something that we can really capitalize on.”

Olinger notes that these efforts look to move Marceline into the 21st century, while holding on to the past that has been built, as well as the connection to its most famous son, and its manufacturing power.

“We need more citizens to be involved,” concluded Olinger. “We need to keep driving this community into the next century, without sacrificing the things that we have. I believe that this program, and the Downtown Marceline organization, will get this done.”