New Barberton Nonprofit ‘Main Street Barberton’ Focused on Bringing More Activity and Prosperity to Downtown Barberton
Main Street Barberton Officially Launches After Nearly A Year of Research and Planning, Headed by Board Chairman Denny Liddle and Backed by the City of Barberton, Barberton Community Foundation, and More.
A new nonprofit organization, called Main Street Barberton,
has begun its official operations in the Magic City.
The goal of Main Street Barberton is to create new economic growth and development opportunities in the City of Barberton’s downtown district by rehabilitating and revitalizing the
downtown Barberton area.
While much progress has been made in downtown Barberton in recent years, a core group of citizens and financial backers came together to speed up progress while including more community members in the process.
“I have studied some of the great downtown areas in Ohio, like Wadsworth, Medina, Kent and Tiffin, and they all have one thing in common – they are part of the Main Street program offered
by Heritage Ohio,” said Main Street Barberton Board President Denny Liddle. “They have a well-proven approach to solving not a couple of issues that plague many downtowns, but an
approach that’s designed to address all of the interrelated issues that prevent a downtown from bringing shoppers, residents, businesses, and activity. I’m very excited for this organization to
The Main Street project began as an idea at the Barberton Community Foundation, and then interest grew beyond the Foundation – financially backing the $5,000 initial investment in the project came from the Barberton Community Foundation, Arts Now, the City of Barberton, Downtown Barberton Merchant’s Association, Ignite Brewing Company, Neighborhood
Development Services, and Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro.
“I have seen the great work that Heritage Ohio has done throughout the state, and the successful impact of their program in a variety of downtowns,” said Executive Director of the
Barberton Community Foundation Suzanne Allen. “I can’t wait to see this program take root in the Magic City!”
Creating Main Street Barberton
Heritage Ohio is the state of Ohio’s “official historic preservation and Main Street organization,” working to leverage historic buildings and architecture, neighborhoods, and commercial
districts through sustainable economic development programs.
Heritage Ohio’s flagship “Main Street” program begins with a visit from “D.A.R.T.,” its Downtown Assessment Resource Team. The D.A.R.T. team visits for 2 days and meets with community
stakeholders, spends time in the downtown and surrounding neighborhoods, and conducts focus groups with residents to unearth what community members have as a vision for an ideal
Once the vision is collected, Heritage Ohio combines what has been learned with its own independent research, then publishes a report back to the community.
A stakeholder group of nearly 25 community leaders was then formed. The group met monthly, and evolved into a steering committee that carried out the recommendations from the D.A.R.T. report.
Most important amongst the recommendations from the report is this – a focused organization must be established in order to achieve the vision for the downtown that the community has.
Hence, Main Street Barberton was born!
The steering committee’s last duty was to establish a board of directors.
From there, the board of directors established four committees with different roles and responsibilities. The board, which meets monthly beginning in January 2023, has adopted a Code of Regulations and is beginning to map out committee work plans for the next 12 to 24 months.
Additionally, Articles of Incorporation have been filed with the Ohio Secretary of State, and the Certificate of Approval has been granted by the state.
Main Street Barberton Board of Directors
Denny Liddle – Board President
Tim Eberhardt – Board Vice President
Ann Hutchison – Treasurer / Secretary
Jim Bauschlinger (committee chair, Economic Development)
Ted Herncane (committee chair, Design)
Deb Shreiner (committee co-chair, Organization and Promotion)
Josh Gordon (committee co-chair, Organization and Promotion)
Mayor Bill Judge
Each committee chair is seeking interested community members to join their committee and work on projects from marketing and promoting downtown to cleaning up buildings and improving the spaces in the downtown area.
While the committees will be hard at work, the board also has plans to hire an executive director for Main Street Barberton, launching a talent search to fill the role later in 2023.
The organization’s primary funding for its first three years of operation will come from the Barberton Community Foundation and the City of Barberton.
“This Main Street program is another example of why we are so fortunate to have a passionate community here in Barberton,” Allen said. “Many communities need the type of focused work
that Main Street Barberton will be able to accomplish, but Barberton is able to make it happen thanks to the strength of its many organizations and how well they work together.”
If you are interested in learning more, or wish to serve on a committee, please contact the Barberton Community Foundation.
About Main Street Barberton
Main Street Barberton is a nonprofit organization in the City of Barberton focused on rehabilitating and revitalizing the downtown area through economic development and growth
activities. Established in 2022, the organization aims to provide the citizens of Barberton – and residents all over the state of Ohio – a unique and magical downtown experience.