One local community’s efforts to enhance its downtown have again drawn national notice.

The National Main Street Center announced that downtown Howell is being honored as a semi-finalist in the Great American Main Street Award program. The announcement puts Howell in the running among 10 other downtown communities across the United States. A winner will be selected and announced at the 2018 National Main Street Conference next March in Kansas City. Howell was also named as a semifinalist for the 2016 contest.

In a post on their Facebook page, Main Street America noted that when Howell first became a Main Street community in 2005 it already had a low storefront vacancy rate, but many of the first-floor spaces were occupied by professional or service-based businesses that didn’t always attract people downtown. The organization noted that over the last 12 years, “Howell Main Street has not only further reduced the vacancy rate, but also diversified the mix of businesses to foster a strong sense of place to attract and keep people downtown.” (JK)