Main Street Annual Meeting Elects New Members, Receives Praise From IL Main Street

By Benjamin Cox on February 3, 2023 at 10:09am

Pictured L to R: Don's Place owners Jim Ash & Rachel Kesler, Jacksonville Main Street Executive Director Judy Tighe in the present of the 2022 Main Street Business of the Year Award.

Last night was filled with music, laughter, and awards for Jacksonville Main Street’s annual meeting at The Plaza.

President of Jacksonville’s Main Street’s Board Megan McGuire began the evening by recounting Jacksonville Main Street’s accomplishments over the past two decades. She also wished to thank the night’s venue owners, John & Rachel Rohn, for saving the former Elliott State Bank building: “Many of you know the condition of that this building was in a few years ago and how close it was being torn down. With the help of Mike Hayes, it was not demolished. I think it was like the 11th hour and 30 minutes before they decided that there was a buyer and that we weren’t demolishing this building. Now, with the vision of John & Rachel, this building has been transformed into something beautiful again. I want to personally thank Mike Hayes for saving it and John & Rachel Rohn for making it alive again.”

Illinois Main Street State Coordinator Jim Miller was also on hand for the meeting. He paid a large compliment to Main Street Executive Director Judy Tighe and to the city’s commitment to the Main Street idea: “I’m thrilled to be here. Jacksonville truly is an exception community, highly respected in the world of Main Street. Judy is very highly respected absolutely in her 20+ years, and it shows. I’m a big believer that the right directors are in the right communities. Obviously, this is a great fit. I was here two years ago when Jacksonville hosted the State Conference and have seen, of course this building is a significant change, but have seen lots of changes. I think it’s a great community.”

Miller says that Jacksonville has been a model for many other communities in their own revitalization efforts.

Marcy Patterson, Tim Flinn, John Rohn, Bobby Bonjean, and Keri Mason were elected as the Main Street Board trustees for 2023. New officers for 2023 were Liz Tracy as President, Vice President Tom Grojean, Treasuer Tammy Holloway, Secretary Keri Mason, and Past President Ginny Fanning.

A new award was given away this year, known as the White Elephant award to John & Rachel Rohn for helping transform the former Elliott Bank building into a revitalized space once again. Judy Tighe says the 2022 Business of the Year went to a familiar family downtown business: “Our 2022 Business of the Year has been around for a long time. They’ve always been a great supporter of Jacksonville Main Street in a variety of ways – not only monetarily but emotionally. They’ve always been there. They’ve always advocated for us, and we so appreciate it. Yes, last year, they went above and beyond even what they normally do. Please join me in wishing congratulations to the 2022 Business of the Year – Don’s Place.”

Main Street’s 2022 Volunteer of the Year Award went to outgoing board president Megan McGuire.

According to the 2022 year-end report for Main Street, the Main Street District has a 96% occupancy rate that includes 186 businesses, with 15 new businesses starting in the past year. In its 23 years of existing, $63.8 million has been used in a public-private partnership to revitalize the Downtown district.