The city is about "85-percent finished" with its application to the state Department of Community Affairs to win the designation, said Woodstock Director of Economic Development Services Billy Peppers.
The Main Street Program, which is coordinated by the department's Office of Downtown Development, assists participating Georgia cities in revitalizing their downtown commercial districts.
It uses a four-point approach to economic revitalization: organization, promotion, design and economic restructuring. The program integrates practical management strategies with the physical improvement of building and public spaces, aggressive promotion and image building and the economic development of the area.
Participants in the program have a better chance of winning grants, Peppers said, and are offered reduced costs for design and other services from the DCA and Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.
The Main Street Program is reserved for cities with populations between 5,000 and 50,000. Cities already participating include Acworth, Duluth, Douglasville, Suwannee, Cartersville and Stone Mountain.
"It's been tough," Peppers, who also is executive director of the Woodstock Downtown Development Authority, said of gathering the paperwork to participate. He added he's positive about the city's chances of winning the designation.
He said he hopes Main Street Woodstock Inc., the nonprofit organization tasked with raising funds for the Main Street Program, will be officially incorporated by the first week in March.
In the meantime, Main Street Woodstock is moving ahead with its plans to build membership and to start projects.
A board of directors has been appointed to lead Main Street Woodstock Inc.
Members are Kyle Bennett, Woodstock director of tourism and Dean's Store operations; Julie Branch, Flegal Insurance Inc.; Sharon Brewer, resident; Jonathan Davis, Ameris Bank; Woodstock Mayor Donnie Henriques; Woodstock Downtown Development Authority Chairman Jimmy T. Long; Jo Marchildon, Maxsell Real Estate; Mike Morgan, Morgan Ace Hardware; Woodstock City Councilman Bob Mueller; Jennifer Nelson, Chattahoochee Technical College; Jamey Snyder, The Right Wing Tavern; Woodstock City Planner Brian Stockton; Pat Tanner, resident; Ellen Ward, FoxTale Book Shoppe; Cheryl West, Seven Arrows Art Gallery. Peppers is the organization's president.
Rates to join Main Street Woodstock are $35 each year for a family, $50 for nonprofits and $100 for businesses.
All the money raised by the nonprofit will be spent locally for events, Peppers added.
He said he's expecting Main Street Woodstock to garner $50,000 in revenue for 2010. It will receive about $30,000 from the city's hotel/motel tax, $10,000 from membership fees, $3,000 from fundraising and events and $3,000 in sponsorships.
Main Street Woodstock is planning a series of events to promote its efforts. To rally merchants, the organization will hold a "Main Street Morning Buzz" breakfast meeting once a month to talk about the organization's efforts.
Revitalization projects planned for the year include applying for a rear entrance fa ade matching grant, coordinating fall and spring beautification days, fa ade design assistance and grants and a centralized downtown signage program.
The latter is something that particularly interests Mrs. Ward. She said using uniform signs to help customers locate businesses is crucial to the success of downtown Woodstock.
Peppers said the Main Street effort is gaining popularity because it brings the entire downtown Woodstock community together to promote a "great downtown Woodstock."
The program is reenergizing the downtown area.
"It's a brand new attitude," he said.
Mrs. Ward added the program's also succeeding due to the "grassroots effort" to urge people to shop at and support local businesses.
"It's kind of an anti-mall mentality," she added.
Jo Marchildon, a downtown resident who works for Maxsell Real State, said the program is "good for the community" because it's creating a cohesive group of people dedicated to the city's future.
Mrs. Marchildon said she also likes the organization's focus on branding that will celebrate the "lifestyle" of Woodstock.
Overall, she said, the program will put Woodstock in a category of towns that have accomplished "great things."
Jennifer Nelson, Chattahoochee Technical College's director of external affairs and a member of the board of directors, said the program's greatest benefit is uniting downtown merchants.
"If we're all working together with the same goal in mind and in the manner, we are sure to be successful," she said.