The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Akasha Spino-Bybee

Bringing back Main Street


Main Street has been through a lot over the past 150 years; it has been burned to the ground by the summer heat, re-built and then paved over to suit automobiles and future commercialization. It can be seen as a key component to the economic evolution of Goldendale. With this said, one can understand how important it is to protect its historical attributes and rejuvenate Main Streets’ image.

There have been a number of initiatives aimed at revitalizing Main Street and Goldendale in general over the years. Sometimes they have lacked the momentum to carry them to completion. It may have seemed that way with the Main Street Program, but it may have been just brewing.

“The year before last, we had a speaker from the Washington Main Street Program come and speak to the Chamber of Commerce about preserving and revitalizing our Main Street. The chamber decided to pursue getting Goldendale on board as a Main Street community,” says Mike DeMott, president of the Greater Goldendale Area Chamber of Commerce. The Washington Main Street Program, managed by the Washington Trust for Historical Preservation, is a comprehensive, incremental approach to revive the downtown commercial districts of cities in Washington.

“We took a trip to another city participating in the program, (Dayton, Wash.) to learn more about the process of revitalizing a Main Street and saw how it was successful in other communities that are a lot like ours,” says DeMott, “last year Goldendale became an official affiliate member of the Washington Main Street Program.” Already having a few projects under their belt, the Chamber (the main supporter of the program at this moment) has seen some success with the program.

“We went through the images donated from Dennis Birney (historical society member) and the chamber had them printed and delivered to the local businesses who are a part of the affiliation with the Main Street Program. And the Christmas lights that were hung overhead downtown this last year was an attempt to re-create a look from the 1940’s-1960’s,” says DeMott. “These projects were a part of re-discovering our community pride, which was needed in order to gain more support towards the program.” The Goldendale Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting a community meeting at the Public Utilities District office in Goldendale, Mar. 23, hoping to formalize a board that will be in charge of organizing and completing projects as part of the Main Street program.

“The purpose of the meeting is to have the people who are going to be a part of the committee, people who are going to attend with the idea they might take on a position, formalize a group and start applying for non-profit status. That way, we can start receiving fundraising toward the projects we’ll chose for 2015,” says DeMott. “This is a long-term project, we won’t see results overnight and we’re not asking anything from anyone either, we’re just simply trying to help our community by creating interest in Main Street. The goal is to get formalized as a group this month, pick a project that we’re going to work on, delegate tasks and then come back and get things done.”

“We won’t be showing a video or a power point presentation, we’re just going to get down to business,” says DeMott.

The meeting will be from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the PUD community meeting room. “We’re looking for a commitment of a few hours a month,”says DeMott.

For more information please call Mike DeMott at (509) 773-5891.


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