Birmingham Joins Main Street Oakland County
The Birmingham Principal Shopping District is the newest associate member of Main Street Oakland County, a program that helps communities develop their downtowns.
With the hope of benefiting from expert opinions, training and more, Birmingham will soon be joining Main Street Oakland County (MSOC), the county's economic development program.
Established by Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson in 2000, MSOC places an emphasis on historic preservation and helps "local government develop their downtowns as vibrant, successful districts that serve as the heart of their communities."
Birmingham joins 13 "Main Street Communities" and four associate-level communities at MSOC. Member communities nearby include Clawson, Ferndale, Farmington, Clarkston and Rochester.
The Birmingham Principal Shopping District (PSD) will be joining at an associate level for one year, PSD Director John Heiney said. The PSD plans to see what MSOC can bring to Birmingham and then re-evaluate when deciding whether to up to a full membership.
Up to two new communities can be brought into MSOC at the associate level each year. According to the program's website, there was a little less than $580 million invested in MSOC downtowns in 2011, 6,974 new jobs created and 728 new businesses opened.
Heiney said there was no cost to join MSOC, which provides many services valuable to Birmingham businesses and the PSD.
"For example, they bring in national downtown retail experts for seminars and training for retailers, volunteers and downtown managers like myself," Heiney said.
"Oakland County provides a number of free and low-cost training for small businesses like marketing, business plan writing and other programs," he added. "These services are available to all communities, but working with MSOC will keep these programs in front of our businesses."
Birmingham will celebrate its induction to MSOC at a special reception beginning at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22 on the third floor of the Palladium 12 Theater. On hand will be Patterson, Birmingham Mayor George Dilgard and PSD chair Jeff Hockman.