The Role of Main Street Wellington, Inc. in Our Community
The citizens of Wellington and the surrounding communities should never take Wellington's beautiful downtown for granted. Over the years, it has been the work of many people - our elected officials, employees of the Village, and others who have volunteered their time and energy - who have worked to ensure that the picturesque historic district has been nurtured and preserved. The entire community benefits from an inviting downtown of which residents can be proud.
Main Street Wellington, Inc. was organized in 1998 by a group of citizens who were concerned about the deteriorating conditions of the downtown area. Set up as a 501(c) (3), non-profit, membership association, the organization followed the successful "Main Street Approach," created by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. One key employee was hired to oversee the operation of the group; and the committees were comprised of volunteers who cared about the historic downtown district and had various areas of expertise.
The mission statement created in 1998 is still the same today: "To revitalize the central business district while preserving its historic character." This core area of Wellington, officially listed in 1976 on the National Register of Historic Places, covers about 4 blocks. 85% of the 78 buildings in this historic district were constructed from 1850 - 1900.
For retail and service businesses to operate successfully in the Village, the organization developed a plan to jump-start the district. The sidewalks needed replaced, more parking areas were necessary, and an attractive streetscape plan needed to be implemented. The buildings needed work with layers of paint or vinyl siding hiding the original charm of the district. New reasons to visit the downtown needed to be developed.
Since its inception in 1998, Main Street Wellington accomplishments include:
- A streetscape plan, designed by Poggemeyer Design Group, was commissioned and then implemented. The new sidewalks, street lights, parking areas, planters, benches and seasonal banners are all results of programs initiated by Main Street Wellington.
- Many of the buildings needed work so that they would be more attractive and accessible to their customers. In conjunction with the Village of Wellington, Downtown Revitalization funds have been received and administered by Main Street Wellington to help building owners finance improvements in the facade or appearance of their buildings along with improvements in accessibility.
- Four Community Development Block Grants, totaling $1.6 million, have been received from the Ohio Development Services Agency. These monies were used for:
- 84 projects improving downtown buildings - from new decorative awnings, new windows or structural improvements to new heating/air conditioning systems - have been completed.
- 19 residential units have been renovated or created.
- 171 additional parking spaces have been added.
- To give new reasons for coming to the historic downtown district, special events have been created and implemented by Main Street Wellington. These events are primarily for the community; but they have also attracted people from outside of the area to come and visit the businesses in our quaint village. These festivals/events include:
- Chocolate Walk
- Gazebo Garden Walk
- Village-Wide Garage Sale
- Summer Gazebo Concert Series
- Patriots Community Band Concert & Ice Cream Social on July 4th
- Cheese Heritage Festival
- Historic Home Tour
- The Main Street Wellington Endowment Fund was created in 2006 with the Community Foundation of Lorain County for contributions earmarked for future programs that ensure the downtown district remains viable in the future.
- Main Street Wellington created a business recruitment package for distribution to potential new businesses interested in locating in Wellington and also partnered with the Village to create a brochure promoting the Village's historic downtown and the industrial park.
- New LED holiday lighting was funded through donations and fund-raising activities.
- A bronze marker located on the downtown square, detailing milestones in Wellington's rich history, was funded through memorial contributions from the Kenneth Park Family and contributions from the Southern Lorain County Historical Society and Main Street Wellington.
The office of Main Street Wellington is located at 118 Herrick Avenue West. The building was donated to the organization by the Larry Broome Family in 1999. The two-story, brick structure was built in 1878. By taking advantage of the Community Development Block Grants, Main Street Wellington has been able to make improvements to the building.
Holiday Tree in Gazebo to Honor Those Who Serve
For the holiday season Main Street Wellington, Inc. coordinates the decoration of a live tree in the Gazebo in front of the historic Town Hall. The organization has created ornaments with the names of Wellington area individuals who are now serving or have served our country in the past, either in the military or as a police officer, fire or EMT. "We are encouraging people to call us with names of family and friends they want to salute with an ornament," said Mike Eppley, Executive Director of Main Street Wellington, Inc. "If you have previously listed a name on an ornament, you do not have to call with the same name again. The ornaments and a database of the names are saved in the Main Street Wellington office for future years."
The 6-foot tree is donated by Kurtz Christmas Tree Farm in Wellington. "We are delighted that Main Street Wellington, Inc., asked us to participate in their holiday program again this year," stated Jim Kurtz. The Kurtz Christmas Tree Farm sells trees, wreathes and garland. The farm is located at 22350 Quarry Road, and is open 10-7 daily starting the day after Thanksgiving.
"We hope people will want to visit our historic district to see their ornaments and enjoy the holiday lights," added Eppley. To include additional names of individuals who have served our country or are serving now in the military, police or as a fire fighter, contact Main Street Wellington, Inc. at 440-647-3987.