Washington Road a Main Street

The Mt. Lebanon Partnership received notification from the state that Uptown Mt. Lebanon, along Washington Road, has again been recognized as an official Main Street. But what does that mean?

The status is granted after an extensive application to Pennsylvania’s Keystone Community Main Street program, as well as the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Main Street Center. That status, which is awarded to few towns in the state, allows the Partnership to “go to the front of the line” for state redevelopment and façade grants, says Commercial Districts Manager Eric Milliron, the municipal staff liaison to the Partnership. It also gives us other perks, such as the ability to apply for temporary liquor licenses for public events and fundraisers.

The designation is good for five years, after which we must reapply.

Uptown has been functioning as a Main Street since the mid-1980s, even though we were initially turned down for the designation because back then, towns had to qualify as “blighted” to get the status and grant money. But the Uptown Mt. Lebanon community development corporation adopted many of the Main Street principles, which included an emphasis on design, organization, promotion and economic development of the town.

Mt. Lebanon officially earned the status in 2005. The program was run by the National Main Street Center of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the state arm, the New Communities Main Street Downtown Reinvestment Program, run by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

The program has now become part of the the Keystone Community program; however, it still maintains the 10 standards it started with:

• demonstrating strong community support for revitalization from private and public sectors

• developing a comprehensive vision  and mission statement

• forming a long-range work plan

• keeping a historic preservation aesthetic

• maintaining an adequate operating budget

• having an active board of directors and committees

• having a paid professional program manager

• conducting training for staff and  volunteers

• reporting key statistics

• maintaining membership in the   National Trust Main Street Network

Instead of being administered through the former Uptown CDC, our Main Street is run by the Partnership, which receives guidance on economic issues from Mt. Lebanon’s Economic Development Council.

You can read more about the Partnership’s renewed efforts in the October mtl Magazine.