Main Street Oakland County event to celebrate downtowns

Main Street Oakland County will celebrate the success of its 23 downtowns and announce the addition of two new communities during its annual “Main Event” gala at the Flagstar Strand Theatre for the Performing Arts in Pontiac.

The event, which is set for May 10, celebrates the “Super Heroes of Main Street.” Awards in 11 categories honor communities and volunteers for their efforts to preserve and energize their downtowns. Recognitions include Volunteer of the Year, Business Owner of the Year, and Local Leader of the Year.

“This is a celebration of our Main Street communities and the incredible work done by the communities and the volunteers who are committed to creating the downtowns that make Oakland County such a desirable location in which to live, work and play,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “We’re also announcing the addition of two communities to the Main Street family.”

The event, beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 10, will offer networking opportunities with local leaders in downtown economic development, live entertainment, a cash bar, and a strolling buffet by Slows Bar-B-Q. Registration is $35 through May 8 and available at AdvantageOakland.EventBrite.com. The event is open to the public.

Patterson will also announce two new grant programs available to businesses and property owners located in the Main Street communities. Accredited MSOC communities Clawson, Farmington, Ferndale, Highland Township, Holly, Lake Orion, Ortonville, Oxford, and Rochester will also be recognized.

The event is sponsored by ITC, A Fortis Company; Genisys Credit Union; SMART; the Oakland County Business Finance Corp.; Michigan Glass Coatings, and The Dobrusin Law Firm.

MSOC created the awards program in 2004. It recognizes excellence in downtown revitalization in such areas as design, economic restructuring, organization and promotion. The judging panel was comprised of experts in historic preservation and economic development.

Since 2001, MSOC downtowns have generated about $787 million in new public and private investment, created 7,636 jobs and established 1,103 new businesses.

In 2017, public and private investment totaled more than $46 million and resulted in 258 net new jobs; 83 net new businesses and volunteer contributions of more than 15,000 hours of volunteer time. The initiative also generated $323,446 in cash sponsorships.

Main Street is a trademarked program of the National Main Street Center in Chicago. Auburn Hills, Birmingham, Clarkston, Clawson, Farmington, Ferndale, Franklin, Groveland Township, Highland Township, Hazel Park, Holly, Holly Township, Lake Orion, Lathrup Village, Leonard, Oak Park, Ortonville, Oxford, Pontiac, Rochester, South Lyon, Waterford Township, and Wixom are MSOC communities.

Oakland County is the first and still only county in the United States to operate a full-service county-wide Main Street program. It is available to the county’s 32 historic downtowns, heritage corridors and mixed-use urban centers.