Rediscover Martinsville is a chartered member of Indiana Main Street. In order to remain in good standing with the state organization, reports must be filed every six months. One of these is “Main Street by the Numbers”—a report on buildings, investment, businesses, and volunteers and volunteer hours.
The following statistics reflect the period January 1 through December 2013.
Although we often bemoan Downtown’s poor health, there’s a lot to be thankful for—and a lot that comprises a pretty healthy foundation. Downtown boasts 68 different businesses that employ approximately 456 people. That makes Downtown one of Martinsville’s
- key employment centers
- most significant economic engines
- most diverse business clusters
- greatest concentration of locally owned businesses.
Building Repair and Rehabilitation
During the 12-month reporting period, an estimated $118,000 in private funds was invested in building repair and rehabilitation. Public funds invested in buildings totals $49,800. The Morgan County Public Library Board of Trustees invested $37,000 in a new roof on the Veterans Building on the south side of the Square. This amount was matched with a $37,000 federal Historic Preservation Fund grant, for a total investment of $74,000. This figure provides an idea of just how much it will cost to replace leaking roofs throughout Downtown.
The City itself has invested $12,800 in building improvements; this amount represents the portions paid on contract with ARCHitecture trio for Phase 1 and Phase 2 design work on the Main Street Revitalization Program (MSRP) façade improvement project. The City has committed a total of $103,000 to the MSRP.
Additional private commitments to the MSRP total $140,450
The landscape improvement project at Main and Washington Street will be complete in April-May 2014. To date, investment in the project amounts to:
- $50,960 in public funds
- $2,000 in private funds (SCI REMC Operation Round-Up grant awarded to Rediscover Martinsville)
- $5,000 in Downtown Enhancement Grant funds from Indiana Main Street awarded to Rediscover Martinsville
Approximately $8,500 in expenses remains to complete this project.
In 2013, three new businesses opened in downtown Martinsville. Two businesses relocated within
downtown, one due to a leaking roof at its original location. Four businesses closed. Of these, Oh So
Chic closed due to flooding caused by a leaking roof. Poor building conditions remain a significant
obstacle in recruiting new businesses and retaining and strengthening existing businesses.
In 2013, 185 volunteers contributed 870 hours to Rediscover Martinsville’s downtown revitalization efforts. Volunteers created new and maintained existing planting beds, organized and presented public events and activities, worked to strengthen and expand the Rediscover Martinsville organization, attended workshops and seminars, networked with representatives of other Indiana Main Street communities, secured a $250,000 MSRP grant for the City and managed the local MSRP program, directed the landscape improvement project at Main and Washington Street, and in many other ways contributed significantly to a bright future for Martinsville’s remarkable Downtown.
The data is inspiring! But I’m sure you’ll agree that Downtown requires considerably more effort, preventative care, and restorative measures to get its strong pulse back again.
The most significant challenge facing Downtown in the next year is vacant buildings suffering from leaking roofs, mold and mildew, structural deficiencies, and other conditions that make them uninhabitable and threaten their existence. Rediscover Martinsville urges the City to draft and adopt new building maintenance ordinances and implement effective enforcement procedures.
In addition, Rediscover Martinsville notes the immediate need to strengthen the Historic Downtown District Ordinance and draft and adopt design guidelines with illustrations that will result in appropriate and attractive facade rehabilitation that promotes an attractive Downtown, protects public and private investment, and encourages future investment. Investigation of creative public and public-private investment strategies successfully used by other communities should also be made. Until this occurs, Downtown will continue to deteriorate; all buildings will decrease in value, causing loss of tax revenue and potential TIF income for the City; interested investors will continue to be discouraged by current conditions; and the City’s own investment will go unprotected.
Rediscover Martinsville is more than willing to help.