Nominations are now open for the 2018 Nebraska Main Street Network annual Awards of Excellence.  All Designated Nebraska Main Street Communities, Associate and Rural Associate Member Communities are invited to submit nominations for consideration.

The spirit of these awards is to recognize downtown revitalization achievement throughout the Network. All projects must have been completed by September 1, 2017. The decisions of the selection committee are final. The selection committee reserves the right to move submissions to more appropriate categories if necessary or decline to make an award in any particular category.

Guidelines

The guidelines and procedures listed below MUST be followed in order for nominations to be considered for an award:

  • Honorable mention recipients from past years are encouraged to re-submit nominations.
  • Award of Excellence recipients from past years are allowed to re-submit nominations, provided that there have been significant improvements or changes to a project or activity.
  • Up to 3 projects in each award category may be submitted per Designated Nebraska Main Street community. Associate and Rural Associate Members are allowed only 1 project in each award category. All communities will be recognized with ONE Volunteer of the Year and ONE Business of the Year in each of these categories automatically upon submission of a nomination. Entries in the non-design categories must be initiated and led by the local Main Street organization. Collaborative projects are encouraged, however Main Street must be the lead organization if the project is in partnership with other organizations.
  • Each project, program, or effort must have been successfully completed after the date of a community’s Main Street designation or after the start of their Associate or Rural Associate membership. Beginning and completion dates of each project, program, or effort must be included in the nomination narrative.
  • All nominations must be submitted using the online form.
  • Nominations entered in the design category MUST include before, during and after images of the project to illustrate the extent of the project.
  • Please make note of the categories that require additional supporting documentation, including those requiring photographs. This additional supporting documentation MUST be included with the nomination in order for it to be considered.

Deadline

To be considered for an award, all entries must be submitted via the online form NO LATER THAN NOON CENTRAL TIME on WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 31, 2018. Nominations NOT received by the deadline will not be considered.

FAQ's

WHEN AND WHERE WILL THE AWARDS BE GIVEN?
The Annual Main Street Awards of Excellence will be announced around the first of April. Presentation details are TBA. Award winners will be notified as soon as judging is completed which is expected to be in early March.

WHAT IS THE JUDGING CRITERIA?
Judging will be based on the principles and objectives of the Main Street Approach. Entries should reflect creativity, innovation, ease of replication, public/private partnership, quality planning and successful solutions to downtown revitalization issues and concerns. The committee will seek to award entries across a variety of community sizes and project budgets. Nominations will be judged on the following criteria:

  • INNOVATION: Does the project or program offer an innovative or unique approach to downtown revitalization?
  • INCLUSIVENESS: Is the project or outcome inclusive? Were partnerships used to get the job done? Was the community involved in the effort?
  • COST EFFECTIVENESS: Does the project demonstrate the efficient use of available local resources? Does the project creatively leverage other financial resources?
  • LOCAL ASSETS: Does the project reinforce and capitalize on the unique assets of the community?
  • OUTCOME: Did the project have a significant impact on your downtown revitalization efforts?

HOW DO I SUBMIT A NOMINATION?
Just complete the nomination form on the WuFoo website, and click submit! You will upload photos and accompanying materials to the DropBox link we have already provided to your Main Street director for your community. If you do not have a DropBox folder for Main Street, please contact the Nebraska Main Street Office and we will help you get one set up. Pay attention to the requirements for photographs and supplementary materials as described in each category. We will acknowledge all submissions that come from WuFoo and items that are received in DropBox. If we do not acknowledge your submission then we have not received it.

WHEN IS THE DEADLINE?
Entries must be received by NOON Central Time on Wednesday, January 31, 2018

QUESTIONS?
If you have questions or problems with the form, please give us a call at 402-499-3703 or send an email to echase@windstream.net and we'll do our best to respond promptly to your question.

Award Categories

Main Street Volunteer of the Year
This award is presented to a special individual who has invested his/her personal time and energy to the local Main Street program or downtown organization/committee and whose leadership has helped the organization succeed. Describe the nominee’s role in the organization and how he/she has demonstrated leadership or exemplary service. Please include two (2) photos of the nominee. One (1) photo of the volunteer in action and one (1) formal portrait photo. Include information relative to this person’s tenure with the organization, the extent of his/her involvement on committees or other accomplishments indicating an exceptional commitment of time and energy to the Main Street organization or downtown organization/committee. Each Designated Main Street, Associate and Rural Member community will be recognized with ONE Volunteer of the Year in this category automatically upon submission of a nomination.

Outstanding Public Partner
This award is presented to a city, county, state or federal government body for their participation in a local downtown or neighborhood commercial district revitalization effort (nominee may include a public utility). Nominations should demonstrate that a public partner has gone "above and beyond" normal participation. This can include, but is not limited to: monetary, in-kind, staff, or legislative participation in a specific project or an on-going revitalization effort. Tell us about obstacles, hardships, or competing interests that were overcome, as well as the results, the quality of the partnership, and its effect. Submit three (3) to five (5) photos representative of the nomination. Include information on each partner or group involved with the Main Street program, downtown organization/committee or downtown revitalization project, and specific details concerning their contribution to the organization.

Creative Fund Raising Effort
This award is presented to the Main Street program or downtown organization/committee exhibiting the most creativity in securing organizational funds or funding for a project. The nomination can include a single event or an innovative fund raising strategy for sustaining the organization or for implementing a project. Submit three (3) to five (5) photos representative of the nomination, along with printed material and news articles. Include information on the amount of money raised and any other information on the event or strategy.

Effective Communications, Marketing & Image Development Project
This award is presented to the local Main Street program or downtown organization/committee with a project that has improved the image and vitality of downtown through a strategy that uses print, electronic media, technology, or multi-media efforts to promote downtown and the efforts of the Main Street program or downtown organization/committee. Examples include websites, annual reports, brochures, newsletters, graphic images, slogans, products, signage, advertising, displays and other print materials that build organizational awareness, commitment and support as well as communicate the vision, mission, function and achievements of your Main Street program or downtown organization/committee. Please submit information concerning publication frequency, circulation number, production costs, and partnerships formed to publish print pieces. Print pieces will be judged on content and graphic design. Websites will be judged on content as well as structure and navigation, visual design, functionality, interactivity and overall experience. Judging will be based on originality, creativity, uniqueness and impact. Please describe the project’s purpose and why it was needed, how it was used and/or distributed, and the targeted audience. Also explain how the project fits in with the overall downtown promotional objectives and the impact that this had on local revitalization efforts. Copies of the printed materials must be included with the nomination. For websites, please include website URL. For newsletters, please send a sampling of newsletters published throughout the year. Include three (3) to five (5) photos representative of the nomination.

Main Street Retail Event
This award is presented to the best retail event in of a Main Street program or downtown organization/committee developed in cooperation with downtown businesses. The activity must be a Main Street event occurring in the district. Other organizations and entities can be partners, but the event must have originated within the local Main Street program and the Main Street program must be the lead organization. Judging will be based on originality, creativity, uniqueness and impact that promotes a positive image of the Main Street district. Please describe title/relevant theme, attendance figures, percent of increase in sales and profits, cross promoting by compatible merchants and the extent of participation by downtown businesses. Explain the method that you used to measure the success of this event as well as actual sales figures. A complete event budget and copies of printed materials such as brochures, flyers and newspaper articles must be included. Also include four (4) to six (6) photos of the event.

Main Street Special Event or Festival
This award is presented to the best special event or festival by a Main Street program or downtown organization/committee occurring in and benefiting the downtown. The event or festival must be high quality and unique to your community or downtown. The event or festival must occur in the Main downtown. Other organizations and entities can be partners, but the event must have originated within the local Main Street program or downtown organization/committee and the Main Street program must be the lead organization. Judging will be based on originality, creativity, uniqueness and impact that promotes a positive image of the downtown. Please describe title/relevant theme, target audience, attendance figures (if this is an ongoing festival or event, please include the increase or decrease from previous years events), the financial impact that the event had on local businesses, extent of participation by downtown businesses, and how the event was publicized. Explain the method that you used to measure the success of this event as well as actual sales figures. A complete event budget and copies of printed materials such as brochures, flyers and newspaper articles must be included. Also include four (4) to six (6) photos of the event.

Business Recruitment, Retention and Support Program
This award is presented to the Main Street program or downtown organization/committee that has developed the most effective approach for improving the business environment in their downtown. Eligible activities include conducting a market analysis survey, effective distribution of market data aiding downtown businesses, initiating creative financing packages and recruitment techniques that bring compatible stores to the existing retail/business mix, and conducting workshops or seminars designed to promote better business practices. Provide appropriate financial data or anecdotal evidence that this program or project was successful. Submit three (3) to five (5) photos representing the program, as well as materials and brochures explaining market data, retention services and/or recruitment strategies.

Main Street Business of the Year
This award is presented to a downtown business who has demonstrated the most interest and action in their Main Street program, downtown organization/committee and their revitalization effort through improving their own business. The person(s) may have opened a new business in the project area, expanded their business adding new jobs, or improved a building located in the project area. They may have undertaken activities such as creative window displays, added lines of merchandise or increased sales while being involved with the Main Street organization. Include a detailed description of the improvements and/or accomplishments of the merchant’s business. Include three (3) to five (5) photos. Include photos of the business (interior or exterior), the business owner(s) and employees in action and posed. Each Designated Main Street, Associate and Rural Associate Member community will be recognized with ONE Business of the Year in this category automatically upon submission of a nomination.

Main Street Facade Renovation
This award is presented to a completed facade renovation in the Main Street project area. The award will recognize projects that apply good design principles in making architecturally appropriate and preservation-minded improvements and recognize compatibility with neighboring buildings. Entries submitted under this category must also include additional supporting documentation consisting of five(5) to seven (7) photographs of before, during, and after rehabilitation, along with the beginning and completion dates, building use, name of architect and/or contractor and approximate cost of the project.

Streetscape or Public Space Improvement
This award is presented to best streetscape or public space improvement within the downtown. Among the items to be considered for inclusion are landscaping (trees, shrubs, flowers, plants, planters), street furniture, interpretive signage, historic markers, way-finding signage, and lighting. Enhancements to existing parking lots and vacant spaces are eligible. The project should be pedestrian in scale and demonstrate a transportation enhancement connection as well as compatibility with existing Main Street buildings and district context. Entries submitted under this category must also include additional supporting documentation consisting of five(5) to seven (7) photographs of before, during, and after rehabilitation, along with the beginning and completion dates, building use, name of architect, engineer and/or contractor and approximate cost of the project.

Interior Improvement—Commercial
This award is presented to the best commercial interior improvement of a downtown building. The award will be given to the project that takes special care in enhancing the historic characteristics of the building’s interior. Entries submitted under this category must also include additional supporting documentation consisting of five(5) to seven (7) photographs of before, during, and after rehabilitation, along with the beginning and completion dates, the building’s original use, its use prior to the renovation and use after the renovation, name of architect, interior designer and/or contractor and approximate cost of the project.

Interior Improvement—Residential
This award is presented to the best residential interior improvement of a downtown building. The award will be given to the project that takes special care in enhancing the historic characteristics of the building’s interior. Entries submitted under this category must also include additional supporting documentation consisting of five(5) to seven (7) photographs of before, during, and after rehabilitation, along with the beginning and completion dates, the building’s original use, its use prior to the renovation and use after the renovation, name of architect, interior designer and/or contractor and approximate cost of the project.

New Construction/Infill Project
This award is presented to the best new infill building construction. Only new buildings are eligible in this category. Pocket parks, new parking lots and infill landscaping are ineligible in this category (see streetscape & public space category). Entries will be judged on the quality of design, construction, visual appeal and compatibility with neighboring buildings and the Main Street district. New buildings constructed on property where a historic structure(s) were purposely torn down in order to construct the infill building will not be considered. Buildings lost to natural disasters are eligible. Entries submitted under this category must also include additional supporting documentation consisting of five(5) to seven (7) photographs of before, during, and after, along with the beginning and completion dates, building use, name of architect and/or contractor and approximate cost of the project.

Historic Building Rehab or Adaptive Reuse Project
This award is presented to the best adaptive reuse project or comprehensive building rehab project. Adaptive reuse means to adapt an historic building into a more relevant use for the district. Examples would be the reuse of an old warehouse building into housing or the adaptive reuse of an old railroad station into a community center. A comprehensive building rehab project includes both interior and exterior rehab. Projects submitted in this category must include information and photographs for both the interior and exterior improvements. Entries submitted under this category must also include additional supporting documentation consisting of five(5) to seven (7) photographs of before, during, and after rehabilitation, along with the beginning and completion dates, the building’s original use, its use prior to the renovation and use after the renovation, name of architect and/or contractor and approximate cost of the project.