FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, February 13, 2015

Main Street New Jersey to Host the 60th New Jersey Downtown Institute Workshop

Workshop Teaches How to Organize Downtown Programs for Success

METUCHEN, NJ – Registration is still open for the winter 2015 New Jersey Downtown Institute workshop presented by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ (DCA) Main Street New Jersey program. This day-long seminar, themed "Tools of the Trade: Organizing Your Downtown Program for Success," will teach participants how to make the most of limited volunteer and financial resources to help achieve revitalization and district management goals.  This event will take place on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 in Metuchen, NJ.


This workshop will offer "The Toolbox" including the following sessions:


         Unlocking Your Downtown’s Potential: Using the Four Teams to Get Stuff Done

         Maximizing Board and Staff for BIDS/SIDS and other Downtown Organizations

         Diversify Your Revenue Sources

         Work Planning for Success

         Advanced Volunteer Recruitment

         Be the Expert: Benchmarking Your Success


Participants will leave with tactics and strategies for running a more effective downtown management organization - including a flash drive with a host of best practices, tools and sample documents.


"This NJ Downtown Institute, offered by Main Street New Jersey, provides downtown management organizations with valuable technical assistance and training to help them develop dynamic places that people want to visit and invest in," said DCA Commissioner Richard E. Constable, III. "It is a strategy that works as evidenced by the 60th workshop offering. Without a doubt, these workshops are a proven winner."


The workshop will be taught by featured speaker Donna Ann Harris of Heritage Consulting and Jef Buehler of Main Street New Jersey & Improvement District Programs.  Donna is the principal of Heritage Consulting Inc., a Philadelphia-based consulting firm that works with non-profit organizations and government agencies nationwide in the following practice areas:  downtown and commercial district revitalization, historic preservation, tourism product development, and non-profit organizational development.  Prior to starting her firm eleven years ago, Ms. Harris was state coordinator for the Illinois Main Street program for two years and the manager of the Illinois suburban Main Street program for four years. Prior to her Main Street career, Ms. Harris spent 15 years as an executive director of three start-up and two mature preservation organizations, each with its own organizational and fundraising challenges.  Ms. Harris is a Certified Main Street Manager.


Jef has worked in facilitating place- and asset-based change since 1989 in American centers of urban poverty, Latin American rural areas, and more than fifty communities in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York and California. Currently Jef serves as the State Coordinator of Main Street New Jersey & Improvement District Programs at the New Jersey’s Dept. of Community Affairs, overseeing the delivery of and providing technical assistance and training to 45 local Main Street programs statewide. He also provides downtown revitalization assistance and presentations to communities around the state and serves as the administrator of the nationally-recognized New Jersey Downtown Institute. Prior to coming to Main Street New Jersey, Jef was a community organizer and housing advocate in Camden, NJ, and served in the Peace Corps.


This workshop is designed for business district management organizations, chambers and other municipal, county and regional leaders, whether staff or volunteers. People and organizations new to downtown management are also encouraged to attend.

The NJ Downtown Institute workshop will be held on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., at the Borough Hall in downtown Metuchen, a Main Street New Jersey community since 2014. This session is pending 3.75 credits from the New Jersey American Planning Association.


The DCA Main Street New Jersey program, established in 1989, is a revitalization program that promotes the historic and economic redevelopment of traditional business districts in New Jersey. The Improvement District program helps businesses and property owners of a community to organize as a single entity, raise funds for activities that enhance or expand upon municipal services, and manage themselves to become a more effective destination for commerce.


Promotional partners for the seminar are the New Jersey American Planning Association, Downtown New Jersey, Classic Towns of Greater Philadelphia and Transit Village Initiative.


For more information and to register, please visit: