Wagner certified as Kentucky’s first community transformation professional 

Published 10:16 am Wednesday, January 24, 2018


News release 

HARRODSBURG — Julie Wagner was recently certified as Kentucky’s first community transformation professional by Main Street America, as part of the Main Street America Institute. 

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National Main Street America has adopted new strategies to refresh the approach toward revitalizing downtowns across the nation. 

“To keep up with changing trends and remain relevant, the methodology we follow has to be updated and must follow current trends,” explains Wagner, executive director of Harrodsburg’s Main Street Program. “Social media and the emergence of a strong internet base for both research and marketing are just two examples of new methods that managers have to adopt into our programming so that we can better serve our business and civic needs.”

Adopting community transformation strategies is the new model for Main Street Programs to bring success to downtowns by working with local citizens to identify critical problems that impede success and tackling them across the board, as an entire community. Main Street Programs will begin to work with local citizens and other organizations to identify issues and tackle them together instead of working in silos.

Wagner explains, “We will still follow the ‘four points’ of Main Street in our work; however, each committee will have a role in addressing the community’s selected transformation strategies, which brings everyone to the table working to achieve common goals.”

Wagner is the first Main Street professional in Kentucky to receive certification. In order to be certified, Wagner participated in a series of online courses and exams, a three-day, “deep-dive” workshop in Chicago and a final essay exam. Wagner has two more courses to complete before becoming the only nationally accredited Main Street director in the state of Kentucky.

Main Street fundamentals

• The Main Street Approach is centered around transformation strategies. A transformation strategy articulates a focused, deliberate path to revitalizing or strengthening a downtown or commercial district’s economy.

• A program’s work on transformation strategies should be organized around the four points :economic vitality, design, promotion and organization.

• A revitalization program’s wor, and its transformation strategies need to be informed by a solid understanding of local and regional market data, and sustained and inclusive community engagement.

• Transformation strategies, generated through meaningful community engagement and informed by an analysis of the district’s market position, help to guide a revitalization program’s work. An effective transformation strategy serves a particular customer segment, responds to an underserved market demand or creates a differentiated destination. Some “ready-to-use” strategies — called catalyst strategies — fall into two broad categories: a) those that are focused on a specific customer segment and, b) those that are focused on an industry, product, or service segment.

Examples include:

• workers and residents

• elder friendly and aging-in-place

• family-friendly

• agriculture center

• arts (performing and visual)

• college towns

• convenience goods and services

• entertainment and nightlife

•knowledge economy