GREENVILLE – Main Street Greenville had a successful 2015 in its efforts to revitalize downtown Greenville, and the new year is off to a solid start with new projects on the horizon.
Saturday evening saw a multitude of downtown supporters braving the cold and filling Romer’s Catering in Greenville for the Giving Gala, a fundraiser to support the next big initiative of Main Street Greenville – Street Art Saturdays.
Building on the success of the First Friday events to bring people downtown for shopping, dining, music and more during the evening hours, Street Art Saturdays will be held on a monthly basis to accompany the Farmers’ Market to bring more foot traffic into downtown.
“Street Art Saturdays will transform downtown Greenville into a spontaneous, outdoor performing arts festival throughout the entire warmer season,” said the promotional literature distributed at the Giving Gala.
Executive Director Amber Garrett said, if sufficient funding is found, the ultimate goal is to provide 20 Saturdays of street art from June to the middle of October with up to six “stages” happening all at once. The estimated budget for the year is $30,000, which includes performer fees, signs and advertising, a part-time coordinator, and associated costs. Garrett said the plan can always be scaled back to fewer stages or a shorter time frame if the full amount of funding is not available to support it.
Another plan for 2016 is to add bike racks downtown Garrett said.
“I don’t think there are really any bike racks downtown,” Garrett said, “except for at the bike shop, of course.”
She also said she is working on improved signage, to help direct people coming downtown to appropriate parking.
“There’s usually plenty of parking downtown, but people don’t see it and they think it’s too long to walk,” Garrett said. “They don’t realize that walking half a block or a block is really closer than parking in the parking lot at Walmart can be, but there it seems closer, because you can see it.”
Garrett credited Main Street Greenville’s volunteers and supporters for its continued success.
“2015 was one of Main Street Greenville’s best years,” Garrett said. “The volunteers spearheaded several large projects that we’ve had in mind for a long time, including the recruitment packages and the Faces of Downtown.”
She said two of the biggest things a nonprofit needs to be successful is time and money: the volunteers give of their time and the supporters provide the funding. The organization’s success in finding both has helped it in its goal to bring more people downtown.
“Main Street’s programs are all about getting people involved, so they take ownership and pride in their community,” Garrett said.
She added that the events also “give the organization and face and help educated the public on why we do what we do.”
In addition to the First Friday events and the Farmers’ Market, Main Street brought more people downtown with such projects as the Win the Window contest, the wildly popular Annie Oakley Sidewalk Sales and special events like the Hometown Holiday Horse Parade.
Main Street Greenville got special recognition at the Giving Gala on Saturday.