Main Street Program
To create a positive image and appearance downtown, while improving quality of life for the commercial and residential neighborhood, and to recognize that the Plaquemine Historic District Commission and Plaquemine Main Street Program make significant contributions toward the economic and cultural growth of the City of Plaquemine.
To create diverse business and services mix; local historic preservation ethic; and promotions and community events plus marketing that reflects the City's diversity, strong sense of community and unique geographic setting.
The Main Street Program is under the National Main Street Center, designed to restore the downtown area as a viable marketplace and the center of community activity. It is a program that builds on the downtown’s total image; therefore, the approach is an incremental one that utilizes a Four Point Approach™:
- Design - Involves improving the downtown image by enhancing its physical appearance.
- Organization - Building consensus and cooperation between groups that play roles in the downtown.
- Promotion - Involves marketing the downtown’s unique characteristics to shoppers, investors, new businesses, tourists and others.
- Economic Restructuring - Strengthening the existing economic base of the downtown while diversifying it. Helping existing downtown businesses expand, recruiting new businesses to provide a balanced mix, converting unused space into productive property and sharpening the competitiveness of downtown merchants.
The Main Street Program is committed to keeping a vibrant downtown where people live, work and play. This is an on-going program that is essentially the management of change over time. Main Street Program produces dramatic short-term improvements, particularly in appearance and promotions, while creating a strong organizational foundation that is critical to long-term revitalization success.
It strengthens and enhances the business and local citizen’s relationship with local government and it promotes job creation and retention. The Main Street Program focuses on the Plaquemine downtown area through communicating and developing the importance of preservation of all historic buildings. This historic image is further developed by making downtown a more vital contact to the areas overall economy.
Many projects have been completed toward the program's goals including:
- Working with business owners to secure grants for facade improvements
- Installing ornamental lighting and trash cans downtown
- Renovating and opening the Plaquemine Depot Market for small businesses to sell antiques, crafts, artwork, and other items and host seasonal events
- Installing brick sidewalk pavers along Railroad Avenue
- Purchasing street pole banners for various seasons
- Sponsoring several events annually to bring residents and others to the downtown Plaquemine area, such as the July 4th Hometown Celebration and Main Street Children's Christmas Festival, and the Saint Jude Antique Car Show
- Assisting downtown business owners with customer service and other training programs to help their businesses prosper
Funding comes through the City of Plaquemine and corporate-sponsored events. Some grants are received to further sustain and grow the program. Several annual events during the year are used to showcase the downtown district as well as to generate revenue for the program. These events are made possible through corporate sponsorship, partnerships and community volunteers.
The National Main Street Center has been in existence since 1977 under the National Trust of Historic Preservation to rebuild the country’s struggling downtown commercial areas. The Louisiana State Main Street Program was established in 1984. It is housed under the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, Division of Historic Preservation, Office of Cultural Development. Plaquemine Main Street Program has been a Louisiana-designated community since 1992 and a Certified Local Government since 1998.
Main Street District
Plaquemine Main Street District is within the National Register Historic District as well as the City’s local historic district. The National Register Historic District encompasses approximately 21 blocks of Railroad Avenue, Main, Eden, Church, Plaquemine and Court Streets. Contributing elements range in date from circa 1840 to circa 1938 and embrace styles from Greek Revival to Modernistic. Most are historic brick commercial buildings and residences.
Downtown historic district in Plaquemine is situated on a Spanish Land Grant owned by Antoine Rodriguez. The 358.27 acres were given by the Spanish Government in 1782. From 1782 to 1897, some 12,500 sales and as many mortgages had been recorded in the District of Iberville (later named Iberville Parish). The land titles were defective and not recognized or confirmed until February 10, 1897 by special act of the United States Congress (for more information, see the Iberville Parish Clerk of Court Conveyance Book 58, Entry 9 and United States Statutes, Volume 29, Page 517)
Other City-recognized Districts include:
- Garden District
- Old Turnerville District
- W. W. Harleaux / Captain T. Talbot Harris District
Reinvested Taxpayer Dollars
Louisiana Main Street Program garners a good return on reinvestment of taxpayer dollars in our communities. Partnering on re-habitation projects and with cultural events in Main Street communities retains and creates jobs, returns buildings to tax rosters, promotes our priceless cultural economy, and creates a statewide and international economic ripple effect.
Budget cuts have all but eliminated support funding for the annual Louisiana Main to Main Cultural Roadshow’s coordinated events that earn the state $15-17 Million dollars during the month of November since Year 2006, and Louisiana Main Street Program’s Redevelopment Incentive Grants have been cut by 50%. Still, the program remains committed to continuing to improve the quality of life of Louisiana citizens and to showcase our unique cultural heritage.
Community cultural redevelopment and revitalization is good economic development.