As a holiday season busy with festive celebrations approaches, it’s a good time to remember that large town events require thoughtful planning and a concerted effort between multiple town and county organizations. Imagine coordinating parades, a Santa arrival, a Victorian makeover complete with horse-drawn carriages, and special downtown sales.
Key to this planning is Mainstreet Historic Chestertown, part of a network of coordinating communities formed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1980 to revitalize historic downtowns across the US. The nonprofit had become a formidable national resource for helping historic communities thrive in its three decades of work.
The Chestertown Mainstreet organization was revitalized in 2015 as a nonprofit and administered for five years by Kay MacIntosh who set a high bar for presenting seasonal events.
Approaching her third year as Executive Director of Mainstreet Historic Chestertown, Nina Fleegle has furthered the commitment of the organization’s mission to preserve and promote Chestertown and “Create a place of shared prosperity, equal access to opportunity, and inclusive engagement.”
Fleegle sees traditional town events as vital but is looking beyond the immediate to help shape and employ a master plan.
“The plan, currently in its initial phase, involves hiring a consulting firm to gather community input, formulate a vision, and collect data. This initiative aligns with the recent town Council’s strategic agenda, emphasizing the need for a structured approach to long-term downtown vitality,” she says.
Subsequent phases of the master plan will delve into project details, prioritize initiatives, explore funding sources, and ultimately implement the plan. The town aims to unite stakeholders, including the public, nonprofits, and businesses, to ensure the sustained vibrancy of Chestertown’s downtown for the next 40 years.
The initiative has garnered community support, reflecting the shared commitment to making Chestertown a better place to live, work, and play. By strategically aligning efforts and resources, Main Street Chestertown aspires to secure a thriving downtown that stands as a testament to the town’s unique identity.
In the meantime, grab your top hat and brush up on your Dickens.
The Spy met with Nina last week to discuss current events and future planning.
This video is approximately seven minutes in length. For more about Mainstreet Historic Chestertown and to check their calendar, go here.