Thursday, April 8, 2021

Wayne Main Street faces funding crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic is threatening yet another entity in the City of Wayne.

Wayne Main Street, a 501 (c) (3) non profit organization which works to improve the retail and environment of the downtown area, is feeling the impact of the lack of donations during the past year.

“All of our operating costs, including the required salary of our director, are raised through donations from the public, corporate sponsorships and fundraising events,” noted Juan Bradford, president of Wayne Main Street in a recent communication to members and the general public. 

“Previously, the City of Wayne DDA (Downtown Development Authority) provided annual funding to Wayne Main Street. The DDA stopped providing any funding to Wayne Main Street during the 2019-2020 budget year and has not committed to any future financial assistance to our organization. With the onset of the pandemic, in-person fundraising and donations came to a screeching halt. The ability to raise operating revenue all but ceased,” Bradford said in the letter.

“We are very proud of all that we have been able to accomplish over the last seven years. There is no way any of it would have happened without the financial support of our many donors and the thousand of hours that all of the countless volunteers contributed to making it possible. And so, it is with a heavy heart that we report that our organization only has enough operating revenue to survive through the end of May, 2021. Unless a significant sponsorship or funding source is identified, our last event will be to co-host the downtown Spring Clean-Up which will be held on April 24 and 9 a.m. in Goudy Park,” Bradford continued.

Bradford listed the many events and resources the organization had provided to the community including the scarecrow display in the fall and the spring and fall Downtown Clean-Up days. He said that representatives from the group also visit each business individually with ideas and suggestions for improving the fa├žade of the building or building foot traffic while offering training opportunities to all businesses in the downtown district.  

He explained that Wayne Main Street installed benches and bike racks downtown in a effort to improve the downtown and walkability. The group also installed and maintained the large flower pots along Michigan Avenue and Wayne Road. Wayne Main Street also established and developed Derby's Alley, which included the installation of overhead cafe lighting, picnic tables and benches, he said.

He noted that recently, Wayne Main Street assisted the Li-Brewery in obtaining a $30,000 grant from Michigan Main Street, something only possible because of the Master Level Michigan Main Street designation awarded to the local Wayne organization.

Only 22 other cities, township or villages in the state have earned such a designation, he noted.

“Just because Wayne Main Street is unable to continue does not mean that its many volunteers will not continue to help other organizations make downtown Wayne a great place to live, work and shop. 

“Again, we would like to thank everyone that contributed in any way to the positive impact that Wayne Main Street has made on our community,” Bradford concluded.