The city of Maryville is in the midst of extensive planning in the hopes of rejuvenating a historic area of town.
Advisors Missouri Main Street Connection were in town early this month consulting with a variety of employers, groups, city representatives, architects and economic development experts about downtown Maryville’s future.
Key among the groups was the Downtown Maryville organization, which is focused on preserving, promoting and enriching the city’s central business district area.
Missouri Main Street Connection recently announced that Downtown Maryville would be one of three recipients for a portion of a $200,000 grant awarded as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Program.
Notable redevelopment projects include the three buildings lining 320 N. Main St., the Rapid Elite print shop and the new law offices by East Third Street and Main Street.
Missouri Main Street advises more than 130 commercial districts across the state.
Downtown Maryville President Matt Gaarder said guidance from Missouri Main Street Connection, from the time they were founded five years ago, has been critical for getting the organization to the point where they can now plan for development projects.
Missouri Main Street Connection emphasizes a four-point approach consisting of organization, economic restructuring, design and promotion to achieve this.
“By working with them it basically sped up the process,” Gaarder said. “With them coming up and giving us some more input on how to better get back into that and make it stronger was a big benefit.”
Gaarder used a metaphor to explain that a city is like a human body, and the downtown area is like the heart.
Promoting and revitalizing the central business district through new retail, structural development and new events will hopefully attract more people and benefit the city as a whole.
“That was one of the key things for downtown is to create some vibrancy and make it more of a community,” Gaarder said.
With time and partnerships, Missouri Main Street, Downtown Maryville and the city are excited about future economic development projects for the central business district.
City Manager Greg McDanel said all projects will require partnerships from the city, Downtown Maryville, Missouri Main Street, local business and downtown property owners.
“The city anticipates working with property owners to facilitate improvements on private property,” McDanel said. “Making improvements in the public spaces and continued enhancements of infrastructure.”
He said the council was in discussions with several owners to develop structural and façade improvements to their buildings.
“The hope is you get a few buildings that do it, that look a lot nicer because of it and realize that maybe it doesn’t take as much as you thought it did,” Gaarder said.
Gaarder said many of the city’s employers are excited about being able to promote downtown as a way to encourage outsiders like city workers, teachers, law enforcement, doctors and lawyers to work here.
“Continued conversation on improvements to downtown are critical to achieving property owner buy-in and community support,” McDanel said.
McDanel and Gaarder anticipate many of the projects will be determined and carried out over the next 12 months.