Howell Main Street was named the winner of the 2018 Great American Main Street Award presented by the National Main Street Center at their annual meeting in Kansas City Monday night.

Selected by a national jury of community development professionals and leaders in the fields of economic development and historic preservation, Howell Main Street’s achievement was recognized for, “transforming the downtown district into a cultural destination through community-driven economic development and placemaking efforts.” Patrice Frey, President and CEO of the National Main Street Center said that, “Howell is a prime example of a small rural community that is doing big things,” adding that it has all the charm you’d expect in a historic Main Street community, but sets itself apart as a supportive place for entrepreneurs and business owners, which is how they’re seeing small communities stay competitive in today’s economy.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation noted that despite a challenging regional economic environment, “downtown Howell now has a vacancy rate of just 1.2 percent and is home to a diverse mix of businesses that foster a strong sense of place to attract and keep people downtown.” The MEDC says that “anchored by entertaining destinations like the new local brewery Aberrant Ales, entrepreneurial attractions like the Frontal Lobe co-working space, and cultural institutions like the Howell Opera House and Howell Movie Theatre, downtown Howell is once again a destination.”

Howell Main Street C.O.O. and DDA Director Cathleen Edgerly said that while “Downtown Howell has long-been a charming and family-friendly town… the community recognized that we needed to grow, change, and get creative in our approach to making Howell a destination for our residents and visitors” and that, “The Main Street program was just the change that was needed,” providing “strategic planning, collaboration and (a) creative vision” they are proud to have fostered a strong sense of place in the community. Picture Credit: Top - Richard Lim Photography, Middle - National Main Street, Bottom - Howell DDA (JK)