Leaders in the Alberta Main Street Program met in Lethbridge this week for their quarterly network meeting and some strategic training. The Main Street Program is a dynamic network of communities engaged in community regeneration through heritage conservation.
As frequent RETROactive readers will remember, the network met earlier this year in Olds, and then also in May at the U.S. National Trust Main Street Conference in Detroit, Michigan. This meeting was the first for Old Strathcona since joining the program in May, and also the first for Camrose’s new Main Street Coordinator, Janet Hatch.
Each community presented a brief update on the work of their program, including organizational work in Camrose and Old Strathcona, and streetscape initiatives and adaptive re-use projects in Olds and Wainwright.
A walking tour was co-led by Ted Stilson, Executive Director of the Downtown Lethbridge BRZ and Main Street Coordinator, and Belinda Crowson, President of the Historical Society of Alberta. As we strolled through the historic downtown area, on a warm Farmer’s Market morning, Main Street leaders were able to see first-hand some of the significant heritage conservation work that has taken place in Lethbridge under the auspices of the Main Street Program.
The group especially appreciated getting a tour of the work in progress on the Bow On Tong Building, which has also been featured on RETROactive.
After the walking tour and lunch at Mocha Cabana, one of the City of Lethbridge’s Municipal Historic Resources, historically known as Bell’s Welding, the group participated in a lively training workshop led by Jim Mountain, Director of Regeneration Projects for Heritage Canada the National Trust.
Jim facilitated a very informative, interactive session on “The Role of the Main Street Coordinator.” His insights, gleaned from years of experience as a practitioner in heritage-led regeneration – both in Fort Macleod and across Canada – were beneficial for both our seasoned veteran Coordinators and also our newer leaders.
Alberta’s Main Street leaders are already looking forward to the next network meeting and training session, to be held in Old Strathcona at the end of November.