Regional Leadership Meeting added to conference schedule
August 23, 2012
Regional Leadership Meeting Added to Conference Schedule
This additional opportunity has been added to the 2012 conference schedule. The meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday September 26, 2012 from 1:30-4:00 p.m. at the Nittany Lion Inn.
Each year, the Pennsylvania Downtown Center (PDC) provides local revitalization organizations and municipalities an opportunity to interact with and learn from the staff of PDC and other local revitalization leaders, on issues impacting revitalization efforts in their communities. The meetings are designed to be relatively close to home for most people, as opposed to a centralized statewide meeting in Harrisburg. Each day, in each location, provides two opportunities for attendance with one three hour session being held during the day and a second, repetitive session being held in the evening. The idea for these Regional Leadership Forums was suggested by Main Street Managers in the early-2000s. The rationale behind the meeting is that if local program managers derive significant benefit from the interaction with their peers that occurs at our regular managers meetings, then why wouldn't the same interaction benefit the board members of the local organization or the governing bodies, committees and or commissions of municipalities. As such, these meetings are specifically designed, as the name implies, for local revitalization organization leadership and the elected or appointed members of municipal governing bodies and their advisory commissions, committees, councils. Local program managers (Main Street or Elm Street Managers) and local consultants are specifically requested NOT to attend these meetings on behalf of their organizations or municipalities. If they do, they are kindly asked to leave.
The actual meetings are designed to provide general information about the state of revitalization in the Commonwealth, to reinforce some of the information that is being delivered by local program managers or revitalization consultants and to provide a forum in which problems, concerns and questions can be raised and discussed within an open network of communities who are probably experiencing some of the same concerns. Often times, questions about fundraising and DCED-funding, relationships with program managers or consultants and board governance are high on the agenda. The agendas do vary from year to year depending on issues that are of current interest in the field of revitalization. Members of the staff of PDC, including the Executive Director, are at every meeting. To the greatest extent possible, we try to have a Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) staff member present as well.
The nature of attendance at these meetings is different for currently designated-DCED Main Street, Elm Street and Keystone Communities as opposed to PDC members or non-members who are not designated. A brief description of these differences is defined below.
For Currently Designated Main Street, Elm Street and Achievers/Keystone Communities: Attendance by one (1) member of the leadership structure of a currently desisgnated local revitalization organization is "generally required." What this means is that while your community may choose not to send a representative to any of these three meetings, failure to do so is so noted and does go into the equation impacting PDC's annual assessment of the organization and its annual accreditation of Main Street and, beginning in 2012,Elm Street programs. It is important to remember that "Performance Standard" number five of the National Main Street Center that guides national accreditation is that the local organization has an "Active Board and Committees." Under this topic the first criteria is as follows:
PDC has chosen to define one of the quantifiable criteria for this standard as a having one person from the local organization attend one regional meeting, once a year. As PDC is now extending these performance standards to the accreditation of Elm Street Program as well, the same standard shall apply to Elm Street organizations. In discussing this matter with program managers, DCED staff and other board members who have attended these sessions, this "requirement" has not been considered burdensome by anyone. In fact, board members who have attended these meetings have left them feeling that the time spent and the knowledge and insight gained was well worth the time committed. It should be noted here that PDC has been working hard in the last two years, and will continue to work hard, to make program accreditation (as opposed to DCED designation) a valuable asset for the local organization, from both a financial and marketability standpoint. If you are uncertain about the distinction between designation and accreditation, you already have an important reason to attend.
The "ideal" leader to attend this meeting would be the current board president or chair. If that person is unavailable, the order of priority for attendance would be another corporate officer, a board member, and then a committee chair. A representative of the organization need attend only one of these three annual meeting opportunities. Attendance is not, however, limited to one person. The local organization may bring as many representatives as it wishes. We only ask that you convey the number of people attending from your organization so that we may make appropriate arrangements for meeting materials, room layout and refreshments.
For Non-DCED Designated Revitalization Organizations and Interested Organizations and Municipalities: For other organizations and municipalities that are not currently designated as a DCED-Main Street Program, Elm Street Program, Achiever or Keystone Community, you are invited and encouraged, but not "required" to attend these leadership forums. Entities in this category include:
- Any non-DCED designated PDC Organizational Member
- Any non-PDC member local revitalization organization interested in the topic.
- Any county or local government with an interest in revitalizing its historic core community(ies) and/or nearby residential neighborhoods.
- Any regional non-profit revitalization organization such as heritage areas, MPO's or RPOs.
These meetings will be of interest to non-designated organizations and municipalities for many of the same reasons that they are to designated programs. This will be an opportunity to ask the questions you may have wondering about concerning revitalization, to delve into the latest program requirements and to interact with those leaders from other organizations that are taking advantage of current funding opportunities. The information you garner from attending one of these meetings may be the missing piece of the puzzle that helps you make the decision to better position your community to operate in the brave new world of the 21st century economy.