Submitted by Downtown Camas Association
The Downtown Camas Association has been designated as a 2020 Accredited Main Street America program. Accredited status is Main Street America’s top tier of recognition and signifies a demonstrated commitment to comprehensive commercial district revitalization and proven track record of successfully applying the Main Street Approach.
“We are proud to recognize this year’s 860 Nationally Accredited Main Street America programs that have dedicated themselves to strengthening their communities,” said Patrice Frey, President & CEO of the National Main Street Center. “These Accredited Main Street programs have proven to be powerful engines for revitalization by sparking impressive economic returns and preserving the character of their communities. During these challenging times, these Main Street programs will be key to bringing economic vitality back to commercial districts and improving quality of life during the recovery process.”
In 2019 alone, $6.45 billion of public and private reinvestment was generated, 6,466 net new businesses were opened, 32,316 net new were jobs created, and 10,412 buildings were rehabilitated in Main Street America communities.
The Downtown Camas Association’s (DCA’s) performance is evaluated by the Washington State Main Street Program, which works in partnership with Main Street America to identify the local programs that meet ten rigorous performance standards. Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, documenting programmatic progress, and actively preserving historic buildings.
The DCA continually strives to bring economic development and increased social and cultural engagement to Downtown Camas through diverse promotion, design and economic vitality initiatives. Recent accomplishments include: the DCA saw $4,330,000 in private investment dollars in downtown over the last 3 years with 4 new buildings underway to be completed in 2020 including 30 residential units. This is the most commercial development that Downtown Camas has seen for three decades and will essentially double the number of residential units, a key imperative for downtown vitality. The DCA welcomed 13 new businesses or expansions in 2019, with current vacancy rate at 1%, compared to 60% vacancy rate before revitalization efforts. DCA volunteers contributed 3,210 volunteer hours in 2019, and along with staff provided the equivalent of 4 full-time professionals worth of effort to the Downtown Camas District. DCA “Light Brigade” volunteers installed new roofline LED lighting throughout downtown to create an enhanced evening aesthetic while reducing energy use by 90%. The DCA, through local partnerships, funded, created and installed in early 2020 an expansive Historic Mill Photo Collage art piece that pays incredible tribute to the mill and what it has meant for the town. The DCA hosted 20 large community events in 2019 bringing over 40,000 people to downtown which led to increased economic stability for businesses and increased meaningful connection for community. Because of DCA’s ongoing efforts, Camas was chosen Top 5 in the nation by Small Business Revolution, a testament to combined revitalization efforts and strong and interesting small businesses. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, the DCA has continually provided timely and relevant education and resources for merchants to be able to navigate the crisis and strong promotion of the ways to support downtown small businesses during these times.
“We’re very proud of the work that this organization accomplishes for Downtown Camas and the entire community through its capable staff and volunteers,” says Caroline Mercury, DCA Board President. “The strong results speak for themselves through much higher-than-average capital investment, small business success rate and job creation. In addition, community engagement with events and consistent patronage of our local businesses is fostered by the solid programming of the DCA. We are grateful to be recognized by Main Street America and proud to be a part of the Washington State Main Street Program, one of the highest performing programs overall in the nation.”