The Hopewell Downtown Partnership has been designated as an accredited Main Street America™ program for meeting rigorous performance standards set by the National Main Street Center. Each year, the National Main Street Center and its Coordinating Program partners announce the list of accredited Main Street America programs in recognition of their exemplary commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization through the Main Street Approach®.

“Once again, we are thrilled to recognize this year’s nationally accredited Main Street America communities for their outstanding work,” says Patrice Frey, President & CEO of the National Main Street Center. “We are experiencing an exciting era for America’s cities and towns, with a growing recognition of the importance of strong local enterprise, distinctive character, engaged residents, and sense of place. These are things that Main Street America programs have been working to protect and advance for years, strengthening the economic, social, and cultural fabric of communities across the country.”

The organization’s performance is annually evaluated by Virginia Main Street, which works in partnership with the National Main Street Center to identify the local programs that meet ten performance standards. The Hopewell Downtown Partnership has been selected again for designation because of its comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts which include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, securing an operating budget, tracking programmatic progress and actively preserving historic buildings.

Over the last four years, the Hopewell Downtown Partnership has helped spur over $2.5 Million of public and private investment in downtown Hopewell.  Their work has included numerous façade and building rehabs, events and festivals, and several new business openings.  Two of the larger projects that the organization helped facilitate are now under construction and expected to open this fall/winter.

These projects include the rehabilitation of two prominent historic buildings that were on the verge of dereliction.  It includes a vacant 5,000 sqft, three-bay permastone building from 1918, that is being converted into a pizzeria and doughnut shop by prominent developer Dave McCormack and a 6,000 sqft, two story brick building from 1919, that once housed the Hopewell Furniture Company and a car dealership.  That space is being converted into a coffee shop and art gallery by local community action group CAPUP.

“Both of these projects represent a major milestone for downtown as these buildings were considered ‘White Elephants,’ the most challenging projects because of the buildings size and poor condition,” says Evan Kaufman, Executive Director of the Downtown Partnership.  “These projects took several years to come to fruition and we are thankful that the community will now be able to enjoy a great adaptive re-use of these historic buildings.”

Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for more than 35 years. Today, it is a network of more than 1,000 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Since 1980, communities participating in the program have leveraged more than $65.6 billion in new public and private investment, generated 556,960 net new jobs and 126,476 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 260,000 buildings. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.