Welcome to Front Street
In 2009, the Friends of Front Street merged with ReStore Marietta. The Friends' mission as a non-profit organization was focused on the beautification of Front Street and the entire historic downtown through several fundraisers, donations, and many volunteer hours.
Today their efforts are multipled through the efforts of the larger historic district revitalization orgaization, ReStore Marietta.
The Red, White and Blues festival, the Friends of Front Street's well-known annual fundraiser, continues under the auspices of ReStore Marietta. This awesome celebration of blues is held on the Friday night of the Fourth of July weekend. Located in the historic Hotel Lafayette parking lot, the Red, White and Blues Festival featured music from a variety of bands. The 2010 line up featured Bongo Joe and Little Steve O from Cuyahoga Falls Ohio, Angel Blue and the Proffitts from the Pittsburg PA area, and Mo Jo Theory from Columbus Ohio. Past perfromers include: The Haywire Dog, Dennis Tarman and the Blues Cannibals, Hoo Doo Hand, Jive Five, Wise Guys, and Phil Edwards and the Mean Red Spiders.
Another fundraiser devloped by the Friends of Front Street draws upon the talents of a local artist. Denny Burkhart designs pen and ink drawings of a local historic church in downtown Marietta that is then etched by laser into a synthetic ivory medallion ornament and encased with a solid brass backing. The ornament is then engraved with the year it was designed. These ornaments are then sold by the hundreds each year.
Click here for more, and be sure to visit Downtown Marietta.
For several years, the idea of becoming a Main Street designated community has been debated among people in Marietta. At the guidance of Mayor Mullen local citizens who had a strong interest in revitalizing Marietta came together in 2005 and began to hold monthly meetings to explore the possibility of becoming a designated Main Street Community. Over time, this small citizens’ committee has matured into a more formal group called “ReStore Marietta”. The group is now a 501C(3) organization with a formal board, committees and a host of volunteers throughout the community. The group has organized itself under the Main Street structure and anticipates affiliating with Main Street in 2010.
What exactly is “Main Street”? It is the name of a program that has been developed to help towns achieve revitalization. In simplest terms, “Main Street” is a recipe for economic rejuvenation. It has eight key principles upon which its success has been built. Those eight principles are:
(1) take a comprehensive approach
(2) do things incrementally
(3) realize success depends on local “boot strap” efforts
(4) develop public and private partnerships
(5) capitalize on existing assets
(6) do everything the best quality you can
(7) acknowledge that progress requires change in attitudes and procedures and finally (8) accept the fact that activity creates confidence – don’t wait, get started on the plan as soon as possible”.
Those are the fundamental elements of Main Street and ReStore Marietta is a citizen’s committee trying to determine if the Main Street program is the recipe that Marietta should follow to revitalize our town. For more information on Main Street programs in Ohio, click here.
ReStore Marietta is positioned to become an incredibly powerful force in revitalizing Marietta. A non-governmental, non-profit organization like ReStore Marietta has the ability to apply for and receive federal grant money and private grant money to do things like buy and restore dilapidated buildings, create green spaces of rest where vacant lots sit now, to refurbish the upper floors of down town properties so they are affordable and suitable for moderate income singles or families and smaller projects like the creation of more street festivals and family-friendly events.
In early 2009 the Marietta Area Merchants Association, the Friends of Front Street and the Harmar Village Merchants all blended their respective organizations into ReStore Marietta. With this combined strength comes more energy and a greater commitment to revitalize the historic area on both sides of the Muskingum River.
The ReStore Marietta Board of Directors is comprised of folks representing a cross section of this community, including members such as the Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce, Marietta Memorial Hospital, Marietta College, and City of Marietta, as well as several local business owners and private citizens.