If we don’t care about our past, we cannot hope for the future… I care desperately about saving old buildings.

-Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Greetings from Main Street Gardnerville!

I feel like I have been a little MIA in the district lately and it’s giving me a case of cabin fever. Outside looking in, it seems all quiet on the home front, but I can assure you it’s anything but quiet here at Main Street Gardnerville!  I sometimes forget how labor-intensive paperwork in the first quarter of the year can be: Permits, applications, reports, setting dates, and meetings.   A friend once said ” You have to do the have-to’s before you can do the want-to’s”, so for now,  paperwork purgatory it is until we can spend the summer enjoying our want-to’s together.

Speaking of meetings, we had an incredible round of committee meetings this month. We were so excited to welcome new friends wanting to volunteer with Main Street Gardnerville. It was wonderful to see new faces and feel their enthusiasm as we exchanged ideas and shared our passion for this organization and community while learning about their passions and strengths. That synergistic energy created when collaboration takes over is so cool. We absolutely LOVE having our community join us. Believe me, we have a task for anyone and any skill set, and we will put you to work! Our volunteers are incredible human beings connected by the one common fiber of wanting to create a space for the community to enjoy…. and save some old buildings along the way.  If any of this sound like something you are curious to explore, please check our volunteer page outlining the committees of our four-point approach and how you can join us.

We had the absolute privilege of previewing local artists who answered our “All Call for Artists” to create our 2023 Main Street Gardnerville artwork for our save-the-date cards. We were thrilled to have one of the artists attend the Design Committee meeting and present her concept which was actually a completed painting. It blew us away.  I know I have said it before, but there is something so special about artists and the work they create. It is an indescribable feeling when the artist can take an image that only exists in your head and apply it to their medium and create the most perfect art piece. It is magical.  I stand in awe of our local artist’s talent. We have so many talented artists of every medium that live here, it’s really quite amazing. Must be something about those mountains, pastures, old buildings, and wildlife that continue to inspire and feed their souls.  I know it sure feeds mine.  Thank you to all the artists who took the time to submit their letters of interest and concepts. You made our job really difficult. The selected artist and the piece will be announced after final approval at our Board of Directors meeting on Tuesday.

Quick update on our 2022 Facade Improvement Grant program. We have all projects completed and will be awarding the final four grant project reimbursements SOON! This Facade Improvement Grant Program has been a long-time goal for Main Street Gardnerville to establish. If you remember, opportunity and timing were on our side as we were included in Douglas County Economic Vitality’s Master Plan update as a focus for Distinct Downtowns. We were named champions for this project in creating a pilot program for the County to eventually adopt. The FIP is a 50/50 reimbursement grant for improvements and preservation efforts of our building owners in the district. Last year was our first year launching the program and as I have shared before, we were able to award $15,000 in grant funds to our local building owners thanks to a generous contribution from Douglas county of $10,000 and our contribution of $5,000 raised through Wine Walks and other fundraising events.  To learn more about the Douglas County Economic VItality Master pan updates CLICK HERE

This year we are doubling down our investment and have budgeted $10,500 to be awarded in year two of this program. Our goal is to be more proactive with our historic building and get funding to our property owners allowing them to do the costly repairs, restoration, and upkeep that come with owning old buildings. Historic preservation funding for private owners of historic buildings is few and far between. Last year after losing more structures, it was a call to action. We can be better about investing in preserving the history and culture of our downtown, and that is exactly what we plan on doing.
These Facade Improvements grants are available to all commercial building owners in the district for projects that enhance the look and feel of our downtown. You can learn more about the program HERE. The next grant cycle will open in May!

If you are still reading this, thank you for sticking with me! I was told keeping it simple is the best approach, but if you know me, being long-winded is in my DNA. I hope this gave you a fun insight into what we have been up to. I look forward to seeing you all at our first Discover Downtown and Mingle of the year and the Heritage Park Garden’s Spring Forum & Expo in March. Until then, shop local and tip generously.

See you on the streets!

Jen Nalder, Program Director
Main Street Gardnerville