MEDINA — Main Street Medina events in 2018 drew in an estimated 150,000 people, a successful year that sets the stage for larger goals for 2019, said Executive Director Matt Wiederhold.
“That’s a huge economic impact for the community,” he said.
Wiederhold said that equated to as much as a $1.5 million economic boost. He based his estimation on the assumption each attendee spent about $10 while attending local events.
“We hope they are buying from our local stores,” he said. “Our restaurants are packed. The stores are doing great. There’s foot traffic on the square during the day. Things are chugging along. It’s an awesome partnership making Medina the best place it can be.”
Main Street Medina, a nonprofit organization, was founded in 2007 with a mission to lead the effort for preservation, economic sustainability and continued evolution of the Historic District as the heart of the community.
Wiederhold partners with the city of Medina and the Greater Medina Chamber of Commerce.
“In 2007, there were 13 vacancies in the nine-block Historic District, there were a handful of special events on the square, and foot traffic was way down,” he said.
Today, there is 100 percent first-floor occupancy for three years, there are community events nearly every weekend from mid-May through mid-November, and the city has become a destination for residents and guests.
“It’s not unusual to see people walking around, shopping, dining and enjoying the atmosphere of the district on any given day of the week,” Wiederhold said.
He lauds the drawing power of Castle Noel and the growth of Root Candles as contributing factors in the popularity of the Historic District.
This year also was the city’s bicentennial celebration, which brought a lot of people to Medina.
Wiederhold said he is excited about what lies ahead, most notably with the expansion of the Historic District into what is being called the South Town district, which is bounded by South Broadway Street, Lafayette Road, South Huntington Street and West Smith Road.
He said projects in development or under construction in South Town made the district expansion a natural addition to the mission of Main Street Medina. The former Hawkins grocery store will become the new headquarters and ReStore for Medina County Habitat for Humanity. The former Farmers Exchange, a 40,000-square-foot building, is being prepared for a $5.5 million renovation into restaurant/retail/residential anchor project on South Court Street.
The Farmers Exchange property also is the first project in Medina County to receive Ohio Historic Tax Credits to help fund the renovations.
Wiederhold also helped create a Neighborhood Revitalization District to assist with recruitment of restaurants to the district. They will be able to award as many as 15 liquor licenses.
Instead of going outside the county for entertainment and dining options, he hopes residents will soon be coming to Medina.
Wiederhold hopes to soon fund some “Welcome to Medina” signs that can be placed on state Route 18 and state Route 3 — main entry points into the city.
He envisions the signs saying, “Welcome to Historic Medina, founded in 1818.”
They must get the endorsement of City Council, Medina County and the Historic Preservation Board. He hopes to have everything done by the end of 2019.
Wiederhold also has been able to hire a part-time program assistant, George Sam, to help work on the popular First Fridays and South Town projects.
Wiederhold said Main Street is looking forward to 2019.
Among his goals are:
- Fund and implement the Cleveland Restoration Society Heritage Home Loan Program, which will offer loans to homeowners to fix up older homes;
- Create a more dynamic and value-added program for members;
- Plan and implement special events in South Town;
- Create and implement a marketing co-op for district businesses;
- Propose and fund “Welcome to Medina” signs;
- Revise mission and vision of Main Street Medina to focus more on community development.
- Executive director to serve as Ohio Main Street Program chairperson and serve on Heritage Ohio board to represent Ohio Main Street.
Some highlights of 2018 were:
- Feb. 16-19, Medina Ice Festival (partnership with Elegant Ice Creations), drew 30,000 people;
- June 2, Kids Day of Safety and Play (partnership with Medina Hospital and the Bicentennial Committee) drew 5,000;
- June 16, Medina County Pizza Palooza (partnership with Feeding Medina County) drew 6,000;
- Aug. 25, Medina Fest, drew 15,000;
- Nov. 16-18, 34th annual Medina Candlelight Walk, drew 25,000;
Main Street Medina received its $30,000 annual contribution from the city of Medina. That coupled with membership and new renewals worth $49,100, event-generated sponsorship and income worth $85,144 and fundraising, merchandise and donations worth $18,494 totaled $182,738.