Downtown Waxahachie and the staff that oversees its continued revitalization has received accreditation in the Texas Main Street Program, making it one of about 90 in Texas.
The city began participating in the program in 1983 and received a renewal every year until 1990. It then wasn’t until 2002 that city officials rejoined the program, Downtown Development director Anita Brown said.
“We’ve been a designated main street city ever since,” she said.
The Texas Main Street Program focuses on revitalizing historic downtowns like Waxahachie. The program started more than 35 years ago, and it operates through the Texas Historical Commission.
“It’s a huge program,” Brown explained. “The core tenant of Main Street is preservation as a tool for economic development.”
Through the Main Street program, Waxahachie signs a contract with the Texas Historical Commission and then works within the guidlelines to preserve history and grow the downtown areas, Brown noted.
As part of the program, Brown submits monthly activity reports and quarterly investment reports to the Texas Historical Commission.
“They can provide us consultation and assistance and training,” she explained.
The city pays a minimal $500 fee every year to the Texas Historical Commission and receives training twice a year. The fee is dependent on population, so more urban areas pay more than Waxahachie would, Brown said.
In Waxahachie, the Main Street Program focuses on downtown Waxahachie from Water Street to Madison Street and Monroe Street to Jackson Street.
“It’s not even the whole downtown,” Brown added.
It operates on a four-point approach for a downtown area including design organization, promotion and economic vitality, Brown explained.
Each of the points is operated by a different organization in the city, Brown noted. Waxahachie Partnership, Inc. handles organization, while Waxahachie Downtown Merchants Association manages promotion.
The Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone takes care of the economic vitality and the Heritage Preservation Commission handles the design aspect.
The organizations work collectively to make the Main Street Program work in Waxahachie.
“It’s a whole integrated program that each step works together and each arm of the Main Street Program work together,” Brown noted.