May 16th marked the 30th anniversary of the start of the Trenton Downtown Improvement Association. TDIA Board Member Cathie Smith says the organization began as a partnership between a group of businessmen and the City of Trenton to get a Neighborhood Assistance Program credit grant to redo sidewalks.
She considers one highlight of the group to be its work with the Plaza Hotel.
A director was also hired.
Smith says a NAP credit grant was received, which made it so TDIA could sell tax credits to give the organization funds to establish a revolving loan.
She explains TDIA’s relationship with Main Street Trenton.
Main Street Trenton Executive Director Megan Taul says the board applied for a grant with the Missouri Main Street Connection two years ago.
TDIA Board President Jackie Soptic comments that the Main Street organization brings a concerted focus to groups like TDIA. She explains Main Street guides organizations to help get structured and focused, so they are doing things intentionally. What the public has seen in downtown recently is a result of the Main Street program.
Taul says the Trenton Downtown Improvement Association purchased the building at 905 Main Street in the last few years and opened Main Street Mercantile.
The board still owns the building, but Taul notes management is through two of the small businesses in the building.
Several locations in the downtown area of Trenton have recently been renovated.
Trenton Downtown Improvement Association Board Member Cathie Smith:
Smith says businesses are interested in being downtown.
TDIA received a Neighborhood Assistance Program credit grant, which made it so the organization could sell tax credits to give it funds to establish a revolving loan. Smith explains the loan helps some new businesses get started and continue. It allows businesses to get low-interest loans.
Smith notes there is a program to help with facade.
TDIA is able to fund new owners coming in and maintaining downtown businesses.
She says the organization was somewhat limited when it first got the NAP grant, but once money was all lent and returned, it gave the group more flexibility. Revenue is generated as borrowers pay back the loans. The money can then be reinvested with interest into another property.
TDIA Board President Jackie Soptic notes the group has also partnered with the City of Trenton in addressing building issues related to code.
Soptic adds that there are no dedicated funding streams for the Trenton Downtown Improvement Association, and it has to generate its own revenue each year by holding events and through membership.
Megan Taul is the executive director of Main Street Trenton. The Trenton Downtown Improvement Association applied for a grant with Missouri Main Street a couple of years ago to help revitalize downtown.
Taul notes Friends of Downtown memberships for TDIA are $75, and business memberships cost $100.
Anyone interested in joining TDIA is asked to contact Taul at 660-654-3716.