Downtown Joplin Alliance is a not for profit organization dedicated to the revitalization of the downtown community as a thriving, safe, and attractive center of art, history, enterprise, commerce, culture, residence, and entertainment.
IN A NUTSHELL
Downtown Joplin Alliance is a 501c3 originally formed in 1989. We guide community-based revitalization efforts focusing on Downtown Joplin. We follow the National/State “Main Street” model to harness the social, economic, physical, and cultural assets that set Joplin apart and ultimately lead to tangible outcomes that benefit the entire community.
If you’d like to learn more about the National Main Street Model: mainstreet.org
We leverage both the art and science of downtown revitalization to create a better quality of life for all. The result of these efforts is a community with strong social cohesion and economic opportunity; a downtown that supports and sustains innovation and opportunity; places where people of diverse perspectives and backgrounds come together to shape the future.
Ultimately, we strive to create a place where people love to be. A place that values its history, but looks forward, ready for the future.
In the late 1980’s Missouri organized a Main Street organization at the state level to help revitalize historic downtowns. They chose five cities around Missouri to be pilot programs for the Main Street Program. Joplin was one of those. Main Street Joplin was formed in 1989 by a group of downtown merchants and property owners. One of the main purposes of the new organization was to be the managing parking authority. As you might imagine, that didn’t go so well with the second purpose which was to market and promote the downtown area to encourage revitalization.
The organization went through ups and downs and more or less active periods. Some key things that MSJ or DJA have been instrumental in developing have been Main Street Streetscaping (circa 2005) and managing Third Thursday as it grew from an indoor art walk event to a street festival. Incredibly, in 2008 when Third Thursday was started, the downtown core was 75% vacant! In 2017, during its 10th season, the downtown vacancy was at 7%!
While the organization has received city funding in the past, it currently is entirely self-funded through events, donations, and sponsorships.
MAIN STREET PROGRAM
The Main Street Approach offers community-based revitalization initiatives with a practical, adaptable framework for downtown transformation that is easily tailored to local conditions. The Main Street Approach is centered around Transformation Strategies. A Transformation Strategy articulates a focused, deliberate path to revitalizing or strengthening a downtown or commercial district’s economy.
Transformation Strategies are implemented through comprehensive work in four broad areas, known as the Four Points.
- ECONOMIC VITALITY focuses on capital, incentives, and other economic and financial tools to assist new and existing businesses, catalyze property development, and create a supportive environment for entrepreneurs and innovators that drive local economies.
- DESIGN supports a community’s transformation by enhancing the physical and visual assets that set the commercial district apart.
- PROMOTION positions the downtown or commercial district as the center of the community and hub of economic activity while creating a positive image that showcases a community’s unique characteristics.
- ORGANIZATION involves creating a strong foundation for a sustainable revitalization effort, including cultivating partnerships, community involvement, and resources for the district.
While we have come a long way, our organization has had some ups and downs and has never become a Certified Main Street Organization.
We are currently under a two-year grant with the Missouri Nain Street Connection which gives us mentoring and guidance to build our organization to achieve more and to ultimately become Certified.
Downtown Joplin Alliance is a volunteer and community driven organization. We currently have one full-time Executive Director, Lori Haun, and one part-time Communication Specialist, Mariah Irvin. We have recently added Ivy Hagedorn as Market Coordinator for Empire Market. Our board consists of 9-13 members made up of downtown property owners, business owners and managers, residents, and other community stakeholders. We also have a city representative and council representative ex-officio. Our by-laws allow for up to 13 voting board plus two ex-officio positions. The work of the organization is accomplished through the four committees and is coordinated and executed with the help of the staff.
WHAT WE DO
- Third Thursday (8 events per year) brings in approximately 5,000 people to Main Street every month.
- First Friday WineShare (12 events per year) averages 60-100 attendees for a networking and community building event in businesses throughout downtown.
- Empire Market (weekly event as of Aprill 2018) will bring around 5,000 people per market day and will bring fresh, local food to the greater Joplin community. It will be a destination and a hub for the entire region.
- Holiday Events/Small Business Saturday
HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED?
We have many opportunities available for those of you who want to lend a hand and volunteer your time. Click the button below to find out how you can get involved in contributing to the improvement of our community!