Main Street in Running for $25,000.00 in Online Voting Contest

By Jeremy Coumbes on March 4, 2020 at 7:48pm

Jacksonville is in another online voting contest.

Jacksonville Main Street is in the running for the America’s Main Streets Contest, provided by the group Independent We Stand.

Independent We Stand is an organization formed by the Stihl power equipment company, and according to their website, the nationwide contest is intended to help promote the importance and strong economic benefits of Main Street areas and the small businesses that help them thrive.

Jacksonville Main Street Executive Director Judy Tighe says that the contest will award one community a cash prize to invest in their Main Street area.

We are in the running for the America’s Main Street Contest through Independent We Stand, sponsored by Stihl and several other major corporate sponsors, and the winner would get $25,000.00 to use for any aspect of downtown revitalization that they are working on.

A little bit of a new twist in this contest this year is they are adding a Flip This Town aspect, I think they want to come to the winner’s town and take a peek to see of there is anything that they want to include in on their program.”

Flip This Town started as a book by builder and consultant Ron Drake, and evolved into a podcast through which Drake helps small town residents apply techniques he has learned over the years to revitalize and preserve historic downtown and main street areas. Drake and his show are helping to sponsor the contest.

Tighe says that from now until April 19th, online voting will be open for the Quarterfinals of the contest, with the top 25 communities advancing to the semi-finals. Residents can vote for Jacksonville up to 25 times per day, per I.P. Address to help stay in the competition.

Tighe says that if Jacksonville Main Street were to win the contest, some of the proceeds would go toward the summer concert series and the continuation of the mural program, but that also funds would be used for a new program Main Street wants to take on.

We have been in partnership with our community leaders, looking at ways that we could develop an entrepreneurial ecosystem, a business incubator of sorts, where we could support new business development. And that would be something that we would be really looking at developing a physical location to do in.”

Tighe says that developing this and other programs to help promote local businesses and Main Street events will be topics of discussion for public input at the Main Street public meeting at the AmVets Post this month.

March 17th everyone is welcome, it’s a community input listening session. Our facilitator Norma Meece from National Main Street has loads of experience doing this and she is going to help us develop transnational strategies, overarching goals that we can work towards over a long period of time, in a variety of areas. So the overarching goals would not be just what new events to develop, but what new events support this bigger picture of what we want Main Street to be.”

The meeting will be Tuesday March 17th from 6 to 8 pm at the AmVets Post 100 on East Court Street.

To vote for Jacksonville in the America’s Main Street Contest, go to Quarterfinals voting ends on April 19th, with semi-final voting running from April 27th through May 24th, the Grand Prize winner will be picked from by a panel of judges from the top 10 vote-getters in the semi-final round. A link to the contest site is available in this story on