Main Street Trenton, established as the Trenton Downtown Improvement Association in the 1990s, continues to thrive under its dual identity. Executive Director Lauren Dannar clarifies that although the organization is officially named the Trenton Downtown Improvement Association, it now operates as Main Street Trenton.
Affiliated with Main Street America and Missouri Main Street, Main Street Trenton is part of a larger network dedicated to historic preservation and community revitalization. Main Street America, an initiative of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, welcomed Main Street Trenton into its Missouri chapter in 2019.
Dannar emphasizes that Main Street’s mission is to preserve the historical essence of downtown cores while stimulating local economies through business engagement. Maintaining and expanding Downtown Trenton is a primary goal for the organization, which submits quarterly reports to Missouri Main Street.
Envisioning a vibrant downtown filled with shops and restaurants, Dannar believes that community support is vital for sustained growth. Although Main Street Trenton benefits from grants, she notes that the bulk of its funding relies on community contributions.
While Main Street Trenton previously offered loan programs, its current focus is on a facade grant program. This initiative assists downtown businesses in enhancing their exteriors, with the organization matching grants up to $5,000. A few projects receive approval each year, contributing to the aesthetic improvement of downtown properties.
Dannar observes that building owners downtown have future plans for their properties, and Main Street Trenton collaborates closely with them. She finds encouragement in the ongoing developments downtown.
Although Dannar holds a paid position as executive director, the core of Main Street Trenton is its volunteer base, including a volunteer board. Recently, the organization launched a website offering community members opportunities to volunteer.
This year, Main Street Trenton hosted a farmers market in Sesquicentennial Park, significantly boosting downtown foot traffic. Dannar notes that foot traffic during the market days at least doubled compared to the same Saturdays in the previous year.
Surprised by the turnout of youth, many involved in 4-H or FFA projects, Dannar plans to integrate a youth board into Main Street Trenton next year, acknowledging their role in the market’s success. The farmers market will continue at Sesquicentennial Park.
At its peak, nearly 30 vendors filled the park and surrounding sidewalks, with room for even more. Addressing parking concerns, Main Street Trenton aims to improve accessibility next year, including additional handicap spaces.
Dannar appreciates the park’s central location in Downtown Trenton, seeing it as a hub for community engagement.