Written by Andrea L. Dono
The National Main Streets Conference - which takes place May 23-25 - is an annual must-attend event. There are “ah-ha” moments, help on issues you’re encountering, and a palpable energy that energizes attendees. But what if you can’t make it this year? Be a virtual attendee!
The easiest way to join us via social media by following #msconf on Twitter. Staff and attendees will be your eyes and ears -- talking about what they are learning and seeing as it is happening. We’re on Twitter - @NatlMainStreet, and Facebook as well. If you’re not - just stop by our Virtual Attendee website and read the Twitter comments there – no Twitter account necessary! We’ll post "best of the best" round-ups on the PreservationNation blog each day as well. In addition, we'll be live streaming of a few of our events on the Virtual Attendee page.
On Monday, May 23 from 9:30-11:30 CDT, tune in for the livestream of our high-energy Opening Plenary to watch Doug Loescher, executive director of the National Trust Main Street Center, deliver the State of Main Street Report. He’ll slip in some reinvestment and trends stats so you can see how the Main Street Approach is growing our communities and will share some wonderful innovations on the local level during the last year. We’re also excited to bring you Edward T. McMahon, senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute, as our keynote speaker. He’s going to tell you that America’s 50-year-long love affair with retail strip centers is over and that the future belongs to main streets and mixed-use town centers.
Interact with us! On Tuesday and Wednesday we’ll live stream the morning’s general sessions 8:30-10 a.m. CST. These panel discussions will set the tone for the education content for the day. Monday, the Center’s Program Officer Todd Barman will introduce a new thinking to Main Street economic restructuring – integrating it within all four points for better results. We’ll be taking questions from the audience, which include you, so tag your questions on Twitter with #msconf and we’ll ask them on your behalf. Wednesday’s general session panel will be lead by Teresa Lynch, program officer with the Center, and will delve into how organizations can transition to tackling complex revitalization projects and initiatives. Again – you can participate on Twitter.
Lastly, we will wrap up the conference Wednesday at noon CDT with a live stream of the Closing Plenary. Our final keynote address will be delivered by National Trust for Historic Preservation President Stephanie Meeks who will give some insight on recent National Trust research on preservation and ways we can engage new preservation audiences.
Enjoy learning virtually next week and we hope to see you at the 2012 National Main Streets Conference in person!
Andrea L. Dono is the program manager of research and training at the National Trust Main Street Center.