HISTORY OF INDEPENDENCE MAIN STREET In 1985 Independence was chosen to become one of the first five communities in Kansas to be in the Main Street Program. Today there are 23 communities in the state with an active Main Street Program. Since 1986 over $20 million has been reinvested in downtown Independence through building and fa?e rehabilitation, over 200 jobs have been added through the opening and/or expansion of businesses and five buildings have been placed on the National Register of Historic Buildings. ACCOMPLISHMENTS and OTHER ACTIVITIES & SERVICES AWARDS: The program has been awarded six Governor?s Awards for Excellence in the areas of downtown develop-ment, exceptional volunteer commitment, design and organization. The award for organization was received in 2001 for the first fund-raiser ?Wild Wild West? and presentations on this have been made at the Kansas Main Street Conference [ Chanute, October 2001 ] and Quarterly Training for Kansas Main Street [ Topeka, January 2002 ]. The program has received designation as a National Main Street Community since 2001. In October 2007, at the Kansas Downtown Symposium held in Hutchinson, Independence received the following Governor's Awards for Excellence on Main Street and presented by David Kerr, Secretary of Kansas Department of Commerce: Outstanding promotion-festival, special event was Neewollah, Inc, award accepted by Drew Demo, Neewollah Generalissamo 2007; Outstanding Design Project over $45, 000 was SWS Financial Services, award accepted by Bob and Marilyn Kurfiss, owners; Outstanding Design-Public Improvement: Downtown Scultpure was Independence Downtown Art & Cultural Advisory Board, award accepted by Donna Dittmer, IDACAB member and $30 Million reinvestment award to Independence and accepted by Judith Lowdon and Janet Demo, Independence Main Street Board of Directors GIFT CERTIFICATE PROGRAM: A gift certificate program was started in 1992 that helps keep money and sales tax local. The yearly sales for the certificates average $50, 000 with over 50 businesses participating. The certificate design was updated in January 2003 and is now the same size as a dollar bill making it more convenient for both the merchants and the recipients. DESIGN ASSISTANCE: Design assistance by the State of Kansas Architect is available through local office for fa?e restoration. The local program sponsors design projects. Board members and the design committee offer assistance with color choice and provide the ?elbow grease? to see the project completed. Jock?s Nitch, Twig?s Floral & Gifts, Tracy Hull Hair Design, Nancy?s Cake Creations and the Prairie Ballroom have all received this assistance. PROGRAM ACTIVITIES: Mother?s Day promotion held in conjunction with the Independence Daily Reporter, yearly fundraiser [ dinner, auction and dance ], annual Sidewalk Sale in August, the downtown art statues are cleaned twice a year [ April and October ], purchase of downtown Christmas decorations, downtown banners, street furniture, holiday lights placed in the streetscape trees and an expanded Christmas promotion which includes Merchants Open House, Holiday Dollars give-away and a night parade with the cooperation of the Independence Optimist Club.