Destination Downtown Will Feature Experts on Downtown Revitialization

Arkansas Historic Preservation Program - Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Destination Downtown Conference will feature a group of expert speakers leading sessions on a wide variety of issues and opportunities in revitalizing the historic commercial cores of towns around the state. Destination downtown is sponsored by Main Street Arkansas, the Mississippi Main Street Association and the Louisiana Main Street program.

Destination Downtown is a regional conference for those interested in preservation-based commercial district revitalization and is targeted toward Main Street directors, board members and volunteers as well as architects, planners, economic development professional, public officials and consultants. General registration is $100 until September 1 and $150 afterward. To register or for more information visit

Speaker Highlights

Diversify Your Revenue Sources!presented by Donna Ann Harris.

Established Main Street organizations need regular, predictable income to sustain their organizations and to ensure a viable future. This fast-paced workshop explains the Board’s role in fundraising and how they delegate responsibilities to the four committees and staff.

Donna Ann Harris, the principal of Heritage Consulting Inc. for ten years and a Certified Main Street Manager, specializes in downtown and commercial district revitalization, historic preservation, tourism product development and non-profit organizational development and provides assistance to both non-profit organizations and government agencies. She provides training and consultations on fundraising, board development, Business Improvement District (BID) creation, and strategic planning projects. Harris has also served as a state coordinator for the Illinois Main Street program and manager of the Illinois suburban Main Street program and acted as executive director of three heritage organizations. Harris earned a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from Columbia University in New York City, and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Implementing the Four Point Refresh: Stronger Strategies, Stronger Outcomespresented by KathyLa Plante.

Topics include the National Main Street Center “Four Point Refresh” strategy and planning for downtown or neighborhood revitalization efforts and priorities.

Kathy La Plante, with more than 25 years of experience in the Main Street field, serves as Senior Program Officer and Director of Coordinating Program Services for the National Main Street Center. La Plante assists communities with board development, fundraising, strategic planning, promotional activities, program reviews, and other technical assistance topics. She has served as director of the New Hampshire Main Street Program and as the executive director of the Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin Main Street Program. Prior to working in downtown revitalization, she spent 12 years in retail management.

Responsible Tourism: How to Preserve the Goose that Lays the Golden Egg presented by Ed McMahon.

This discussion focuses on how a community can attract tourists and their dollars without losing their soul. We will show the relationship between historic preservation and land use planning and successful tourism programs.

Ed McMahon serves as the Senior Resident Fellow and Charles E. Fraser Chair for Sustainable Development and Environmental Policy at the Urban Land Institute. He conducts research and educational activities for the development of environmentally sensitive policies and practices. Prior to the Urban Land Institute, McMahon worked as vice president and director of land use planning for the Conservation Fund in Arlington County, Virginia, helping preserve millions of acres of land with historic or natural significance. He was co-founder and president of Scenic America, a nonprofit to protect America’s scenic landscapes. As an authority in community planning and economic development, McMahon has written more than 15 books and regularly writes for several periodicals, as well as performing public speaking engagements. McMahon earned a Master of Arts in Urban Studies from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law School.

Better Recruitment = Better Boardspresented by Donna Harris.

This workshop explains current nonprofit best practices for the engaging new Board members in your local Main Street organizations using a mnemonic device, PRONTO: Prioritize candidates, Recruit throughout the year, highlight Obligations of board membership, Nominate the most talented prospects, and Train and Orient your sparkling new board members.

Donna Ann Harris, the principal of Heritage Consulting Inc. for ten years and a Certified Main Street Manager, specializes in downtown and commercial district revitalization, historic preservation, tourism product development and non-profit organizational development and provides assistance to both non-profit organizations and government agencies. She provides training and consultations on fundraising, board development, BID creation, and strategic planning projects. Harris has also served as a state coordinator for the Illinois Main Street program and manager of the Illinois suburban Main Street program and acted as executive director of three heritage organizations. Harris earned a Master of Science degree in Historic Preservation from Columbia University in New York City, and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Blogging on Main Street & Attracting Travel Bloggerspresented by Jacqueline Wolven.

This discussion will help Main Streets understand the power and ease of blogging your story and reaffirming your brand with almost zero dollars. The focus will be on how to attract bloggers both in and out of state to blog about your Main Street and includes why, how, and who to connect with. The session will address the power of blogging, how to start blogging your Main Street story, and a case study on the impact of blogging in Eureka Springs.

Jacqueline Wolven, Founder and Director of Do Good Work and Executive Director of Eureka Springs Downtown Network, provides consultation to small businesses on branding, community organization, and professional and personal development and teaches them to use the right tools and opportunities. She began her experience in corporate business development with Betchel National, Inc. and Carlson Marketing Group. Wolven, who graduated from Platt College, Los Angeles, has more than 20 years of marketing and brand development experience and continues studying current trends.

Creative Placemaking: Transforming Rural Areas into Vibrant Destinationspresented by Timothy E. Lampkin.

Communities across the country are utilizing creative placemaking to revitalize Main Street, engage the broader community, and create economic opportunities. This presentation will provide concrete examples of placemaking in the South, particularly in rural communities.

Timothy E. Lampkin,CEO of Lampkin Consulting Group,provides services for grant proposal development and review, small business consulting, project management, and event support for non-profits, universities, municipalities, coalitions, artists and entrepreneurs. He has experience as a community development officer for Southern Bancorp Community Partners identifying funding for projects in the community and coordinating with city, county and local nonprofits. He also worked as a consultant with the DEBTS program at Delta State University providing credit management, marketing assistance, inventory maintenance, and technical assistance to entrepreneurs and nonprofits. At Carnegie Public Library in Clarksdale, Mississippi, he implemented community education programs and led the local Project Compass initiative. He presented at the 2015 New Partners for Smart Growth and the 2015 Winning the Race conferences regarding rural and creative placemaking. Lampkin holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Mississippi Valley State University, a Master in Business Administration from Delta State University, and a Master of Science in Organizational Performance from Bellevue University. He is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Adult and Lifelong Learning from the University of Arkansas.

Tax Credits on Main Street presented by Amber Jonesand Tom Marr.

The session focuses on navigation of Federal and State Tax Credit Programs, helping historic property owners receive financial incentives and rebates on approved maintenance, repairs, updates and improvements on historic properties.

Amber Jones works as a Historic Preservation Tax Credit and Facade Easement Consultant coordinating conservation façade easements and tax credit projects across Arkansas. Jones helps property owners navigate the Federal and State Tax Credit programs. She previously worked as the executive director of Friends of Dreamland providing arts programming, board development, grant writing and management, budget oversight, historical research, and donor relations, among other duties. Jones received a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Arkansas Tech University.

Tom Marr serves as the Rehabilitation Tax Credit Coordinator for the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. He also serves on the North Little Rock Historic District Commission.

PopUp in the Rock: Connecting Underutilized Space and Creating Sense of Placepresented by Chris East, Buckley O’Mell, and Chris Hancock.

Community development group PopUp in the Rock transforms neglected or car-dominated communities for a weekend to inspire long-term change by demonstrating how a few blocks can be made more inviting to pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, customers and businesses through good community planning. The group recruits PopUp shops and restaurants, food trucks, musicians and artists to create a lively streetscape. Temporary installations like bike lanes, bus stop shelters, bike racks and crosswalks have allowed communities to experience possibilities. Specific PopUps are inspired by community feedback and site potential.

Chris East, Architect for Cromwell Architects Engineers, is a founding member and President of studioMAIN and the Architecture and Design Network. He served an instrumental role in PopUp Main Street, which reimagined and installed shops, bike lanes, and urban street amenities on Main Street and 7th Street in Little Rock. He served as the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Arkansas Central Section Chair from 2012 through 2014. East, a licensed architect, graduated from Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas and is LEED accredited. He is also a graduate of the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Greater Little Rock Class XXIV.

Buckley O’Mell, Vice President of Advocacy for Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, oversees all aspects of government relations and public policy, manages operations for Fifty for the Future, and provides oversight for Create Little Rock, the Chamber’s young professionals organization. Previously, O’Mell worked for Flake & Kelley Commercial, focusing on development projects brokerage and project management. He was a member of Little Rock Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Greater Little Rock Class XXIV and served as founding member and chairman of Create Little Rock. He also led the effort for PopUp Main Street, which was PopUp in the Rock’s first event. O’Mell serves on the Little Rock Parks and Recreation Commission, the River Market Advisory Committee, and the Little Rock Downtown Partnership’s Main Street Revitalization Committee. He also served as co-chair of the Main Street Food Truck Festival. O’Mell has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Arkansas, Walton College of Business and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Arkansas School of Law.

Chris Hancock, Communications Manager for Historic Arkansas Museum, serves as the Community Development Co-Chair of the Create Little Rock Steering Committee. He also served as Chair for PopUp Park Hill (2014) and Co-Chair of the 2015 PopUp project, PopUp West Ninth. The 2014 Arkansas Times Big Idea issue featured his proposal to adapt an under-utilized overpass as a pedestrian bridge for PopUp West Ninth and the Downtown Little Rock Partnership’s annual magazine “Envisioning the Future” section highlighted his concept of the potential of West Nine Street. Hancock also serves on the Little Rock City Beautiful Commission and the ACANSA Arts Festival Avant-garde Steering Committee. He graduated from the Honors College of the University of Central Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts in English.

Yoga for Your Marketing Dollars:Elongate, Exaggerate & Expand Your Advertising Reach presented by Jan Miller and Karen Stanley.

In this session, learn ways to improve usage of social media. The discussion includes understanding local media options, identifying your target audience, social media secrets, and how to use your brand to capture local and tourist dollars.

Jan Miller, Central District Director for Mississippi Main Street Association, provides oversight and program support for 21 Main Street communities in Mississippi. She has experience in non-profit organizational development, fundraising, sponsor vetting, and creation of strategic corporate alliances with non-profits. Miller served as executive director for Main Street Columbus for seven years and has extensive experience in strategic planning, festival development, assessment and retail consulting. She has been honored by Mississippi University for Women, Southeast Tourism Society, and the Mississippi Main Street Association, and received the Practitioner of the Year award by the Public Relations Association of Mississippi.

Karen Stanley, owner of neonFROG, Inc., provides full service marketing plans, public relations, and events planning. She consults with companies throughout the Southeast to develop marketing plans with budget-friendly social media and traditional media options. Stanley has more than 17 years of experience in marketing and sales director positions. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Business with a minor in Marketing from the Mississippi University for Women. Mississippi Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40 named Stanley on their list, and the Golden Triangle Chapter of the Public Relations Association of Mississippi named her Public Relations Practitioner of the Year.

Crowdfunding for Public Spaces & Community Places:Community & Innovation Come Together for the Greater Goodpresented byNate Scramlin and Chris Blauvelt.

From bike trails to pocket parks to alley reactivation projects, discover how crowdfunding can help communities and nonprofits raise donations to revitalize or create public spaces. In this interactive workshop, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) team up with Patronicity, a Detroit-based crowdfunding platform, to review examples of successfully implemented campaigns using crowdfunding as a financing resource. This is the first program of its kind in the country, where local residents can be part of the development of transformational projects in their communities, backed with matching dollars by the state of Michigan.

Nate Scramlin serves as a Community Assistance Specialist for Michigan Economic Development Corporation, where he assists communities, businesses, and developers in creating great local places to spur new job creation and private investment. Previously, Scramlin received experience at the Genesee County Metropolitan Planning Commission in environmental, energy efficiency, and transportation planning. He received a degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Michigan State University.

Chris Blauvelt serves as the Founder of Patronicity, a localized crowdfunding platform tailored to support local businesses, organizations, and events in Detroit, Michigan. Blauvelt also launched the service, LaunchGood, a similar crowdfunding support platform with a more specific target audience, the Muslim community. He is also a member of the Green Garage, a sustainable co-working community. Blauvelt obtained an engineering degree from the University of Michigan before discovering his passion in local community improvement.

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