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Brookfield named Main Street Community

Angie Talken
Linn County Leader

Brookfield is now a Main Street Community. The announcement was made Friday, following an application process this summer and fall.

Becky Cleveland, executive director of Brookfield Area Growth Partnership (BAGP), said this new collaboration will allow the group to put more emphasis on Main Street in Brookfield.

“Main Street will bring an organizational stricture to the downtown area and Main Street in Brookfield,” she said. 

By becoming a Main Street Community like 160 others across the state including Brunswick, Trenton, Marceline and Chillicothe, Brookfield’s organization will focus on Main Street’s four-point approach focusing on the vitality of downtown, economic development and the preservation of history. 

According to Main Street’s website, “The success of the Main Street® approach to revitalization is based on its comprehensive nature. By carefully integrating four points into a practical downtown management strategy, the local Main Street® program will produce fundamental changes in a community's economic base, while preserving its historic commercial buildings and the community's unique heritage. The goal is to create a sustainable organization that functions as the revitalization leader in the community.”

The mission of Main Street states “Missouri Main Street Connection is the leading statewide nonprofit organization devoted to preservation-based economic development. Through the Main Street America™ movement and our partners, we empower community revitalization by celebrating, supporting, and sustaining Missouri historic commercial districts in both rural and urban settings.”

Cleveland said in January, depending on the status of COVID in the community public meetings will be held and the group will begin to make a plan on steps for future projects and ideas.

“For anything to begin you have to have a plan,” Cleveland said.

Cleveland also noted the affiliation with the Main Street program will bring a devoted employee who will be able to help organize and arrange volunteers who will in turn help promote the projects.

“With the leadership of the board of directors and staff, specifically dedicated to downtown, we will actively recruit more members and volunteers to the table,” Cleveland said in the application to join Main Street. “Young, old, minorities, building owners and businesses will be invited and encouraged to join.”

BAGP has already implemented some ideas that bring more awareness to downtown businesses and activities. Since this summer Cleveland and BAGP Program Director Marcia Cunningham have been making weekly social media posts called “Mondays on Main with Marcia and Backy” which has highlighted local businesses to encourage shipping local during the pandemic along with the Halls of Brookfield apartment complex which is being built in the location of the old high school.

BAGP has long been focused on the economic development and success of Brookfield as a whole. Main Street will allow them to continue to focus and expand its efforts and grants the group is able to obtain.

“We are already focusing on downtown as part of our efforts,” she said. “Now we are able to use Main Street’s four-point approach, be more sustainable, organized and this will help us get grants, tax credits and we will be able to make our money go farther.”

The Brookfield Industrial Development Authority contributed support for the Main Street Program as well.  

BAGP is responsible for the nearly $1 million in upgrades to Twin Parks, and the board of directors for BAGP is also currently working on developing a trail system that will connect parts of downtown, the pool and park, through its long-term plan. 

After receiving a grant from the Missouri State Health Department preliminary work has already begun. The first phase of the trail system is proposed to connect the school to the YMCA and Senior Center.

Through the spring Picadilly, the BAGP has been able to reserve $5,000 for the trail system.

“This is a vision now - and the vision is to connect everything - we want kids to be able to ride their bikes to the pool and for people to be able to walk throughout town - especially in areas that are not currently connected to one another,” Cleveland said.

While it is called a trail system some of the paths will be sidewalks, some trails. 

Currently, BAGP and All-State Consultants are waiting on notification of other grants to continue planning and other work on the trail system.

For more information about BAGP or Main Street Brookfield contact Cleveland or Cunningham at  660-258-7278.