The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) along with Alton Main Street and the Center for Governmental Studies at Northern Illinois University will host a Downtown Revitalization Workshop at the Alton YWCA-Levis Room at 304 E. 3rd Street in Alton, Illinois.    The program is part of Governor Pat Quinn’s ongoing effort to revitalize central business districts throughout Illinois.

The workshop, entitled, “Closing the Deal:  Bringing New Businesses to your Downtown,” will teach community and economic development professionals how to make commercial districts more attractive for new and expanding businesses. They also will receive tips on how to find prospects for commercial development.

“Illinois Main Street communities work to strengthen our downtowns and promote grassroots economic development,” said Governor Quinn. “These workshops are important occasions for people to trade ideas and learn new tools, all to spur local reinvestment.

Workshop highlights include:

  • What are businesses looking for?
  • What information do local officials need and where do they find it?
  • What should be in a recruitment package?
  • How can communities work with building owners to fill their space?
  • Where can prospects be found?
  • What incentives are available?

In Illinois, 42 communities hold the Illinois Main Street designation. DCEO administers the Illinois Main Street program.  These communities work collaboratively to strengthen our state’s economy.  In 2013, the program yielded nearly $46 million in private investment.  Most of the private investment was allocated to new construction, building rehabilitation and buildings sold.  The public sector investment was about $11 million in items such as streetscape projects and streetlights as well as sidewalk and infrastructure improvements.  Within these areas, 161 new businesses merged, creating 301 full-time and 367 part-time jobs.

Nationally, Main Street communities and their local programs have created nearly 915,000 jobs and represent public and private reinvestment of over $48 billion.

To register for the Downtown Revitalization Workshop, please contact Mim Evans at The Center for Governmental Studies at Northern Illinois University at Each participant will receive a Certificate of Completion from Northern Illinois University for continuing education credit.

Illinois Main Street is an historic preservation-based economic development program that applies the comprehensive Main Street Four Point Approach® to the revitalization of Illinois’ downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts. Developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Main Street approach focuses on four key tenets: Organization, Design, Promotion, and Economic Restructuring.

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