Beloit College Magazine

Beloit College Magazine

Summer 2011 (August 2011)

Great American Main Street

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July 2011

Grand Ave HalloweenThe National Trust for Historic Preservation put another feather in Beloit’s cap in May when it announced its 2011 Great American Main Street Awards. Represented by the Downtown Beloit Association, Beloit was one of five cities nationwide to receive the award, which recognizes historic preservation and strategic partnerships that revitalize traditional Main Street commercial districts.

Among other things, downtown Beloit was cited for its successful efforts to save the historic Hotel Hilton, which houses Turtle Creek (the Beloit College bookstore) and loft apartments at the corner of Grand Avenue and Pleasant Street, as well as the transformation of the former Woolworths building into Bushel & Peck’s Local Market. Beloit was also recognized for turning an industrial riverfront into “a haven for boaters and bikers,” and for its extensive public art and events calendar of riverfront concerts, a film festival, and thriving farmers market. Twenty years after the Downtown Beloit Association’s founding, property values have increased in the district by 192 percent, according to the National Trust, and residential occupancy rates downtown are nearly at capacity.

Cities like Beloit participate in the Main Street program by subscribing to a preservation-based approach to economic development that leverages local assets, such as historic, cultural, and architectural resources, local enterprises, and community pride.

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