Building on success: Noblesville Main Street looks back on 2016 successes and ahead to 2017 projects
By Sadie Hunter
On Feb. 17, Noblesville Main Street staff, board members and stakeholders attended the organization’s annual meeting at Forest Park Inn.
CEO Chris Owens spoke to the crowd, reviewing 2016, giving awards and highlighting upcoming 2017 events and projects while giving a brief overview of how the organization operates and is structured.
The organization is made up of four committees that operate it day to day: the organization committee (oversees fundraising and sponsorships), the design committee (facilitates the farmers market, involved in downtown aesthetics), the promotions committee (deals with events and programming, merchant/community interaction) and the economic development committee (tracks business growth and downtown development).
Alley Activation Plan
Funded by Hamilton County Tourism, Noblesville Main Street is collaborating with the City of Noblesville, Nickel Plate Arts and LOCI Creative for its Alley Activation Plan.
“Our hope is that in 2017 we’ll be able to carry this forward as a project with a budget,” Owens said. “We’ll be able to look at potentially closing, or activating, our north alley on the north side of the courthouse square.”
Meals from the Market
Meals from the Market was introduced by Noblesville Main Street in 2016, replacing the weekly Thursday Farmers Market.
“The Thursday Market was a great concept and held its place for a couple years, but unfortunately we saw declining vendor participation and attendance,” Owens said. “So we came up with the idea for a private, catered meal for 50 people in our south alley.”
The initiative resulted in the securing of a local private chef, who sourced all meat and produce from Saturday’s farmers market vendors for farm-to-table-style meals.
“We also paired that with local jazz and local art to try to create a two-hour intimate experience in downtown Noblesville,” Owens said. “It was so successful that we sold out the first event, and within two days, sold out the three subsequent events. I’m happy to say that that event is expanding not in size, but we’re working to introduce a second series, an A series and a B series, in 2017.”
Upcoming Meals from the Market dates are June 8 and 22, July 13 and 27, Aug. 10 and 24, Sept. 7 and 21.
“While (many events are) a great one-time benefit to downtown, the farmers market, as we make our transition to Federal Hill Commons, needs to be a point of emphasis,” Owens said. “We’re reaching at least 3,000 people on a weekly basis 24 times a year. So, when you think about that reach, that’s almost 72,000 people throughout the course of the summer. So as we transition, we’re very excited about what that property means to our downtown.”
Just one week after Federal Hill’s grand opening April 29, the farmers market will return for the 2017 season May 6, across the street from its prior location at the Riverview Health overflow lot. Through Oct. 14, the farmers market will operate each Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.
2017 themes and projects
Speaking on community investment, sustainability and the creation of a strategic plan, Owens said the organization will begin measuring its impact on the community this year.
“We have evolved into a vast organization over the past few years,” he said. “It’s time to start to measure what we do.”
Noblesville Main Street also will begin work on a strategic plan this spring.
“We, by charter, are required to have an annual work plan submitted to Indiana Main Street and National Main Street,” Owens said. “Quite frankly, that’s good, but it’s not going to position us where we need to be as an organization. We’re looking to engage probably 15 to 20 stakeholders in the second quarter as we look to shape our strategic plan for the next three to five years.”
At the start of each year, Noblesville Main Street honors people who have helped the organization in the past year. The following people were recognized at the Feb. 17 annual meeting:
Noblesville First United Methodist Church, 2016 Outstanding Volunteer Group
“They really stepped up the game this year,” Noblesville Main Street CEO Chris Owens said. “In 2016, Noblesville Main Street was asked to facilitate the Noblesville Fourth of July Parade and Christmas Parade. That is no easy task but a very fun one, and Noblesville First United not only came on to help us facilitate those parades to line up more than 80 entries, but they also made their facilities available to anyone that needed to use them.”
Craig and Christi Crosser/Nova 29, 2016 Partner of the Year
“2016 was a challenging year for us, to say the least, and we’ve learned a lot from those challenges that we’ve had,” Owens said. “People step up in key times, and Craig and Christi Crosser are two people that have done that for the organization and several organizations in town.”
Alaina Shonkwiler, 2016 Board Member of the Year
Shonkwiler works as the assistant director of the City of Noblesville’s Economic Development Dept. With Noblesville Main Street, she served as a former vice president and former economic development committee chair and is the Upstairs Downtown chair, Ice Festival chair and Holiday Dinner chair.
BY THE NUMBERS
- 214 – members in 2016 (largest area of growth was small businesses)
- 6,896 – Facebook followers (as of Feb. 20)
- $195K – 2016 annual revenue
- 220K – 2017 revenue goal
- 53 – local nonprofits that benefitted from time, goods, services and funds from NMS
- 13 – local organizations represented by the NMS board (Noblesville Preservation Alliance, Prevail, SERVE Noblesville, Boys & Girls Club, Noblesville Chamber of Commerce, Nickel Plate Arts, Hamilton County Leadership Academy, Noblesville Kiwanis, Meals on Wheels, Legacy Fund, Noblesville Youth Assistance Program, Hamilton County Harvest Food Bank, Noblesville Rotary)
Meals from the Market
- Four sold-out events
- Frequency has been doubled for 2017
- Used as a model for other communities
- Celebrated its 26th year
- 19,000 plus estimated attendance
- Largest downtown event of 2016
- Ran 24 weeks
- Estimated 3,000 weekly visitors
- Donated more than $5,500 worth of food to local pantries
- Worked as a lead partner with the City of Noblesville and Hamilton County Tourism for the Bicentennial celebration on the courthouse square
- Was a contribution member of the Noblesville Arts Council that worked to secure Cultural Arts District designation