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Southwest Missouri News--Branson

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by Carol Harris, Branson area, and Mary Engler-Guccione, Joplin area

Branson has been recognized as an official Main Street city by the Missouri Main Street Program. According to Randy Gray, Missouri Main Street coordinator, only four other Missouri cities have qualified thus far in 1998 for Main Street recognition: Clinton, Lee's Summit, Mountain Grove and Parkville.

The Downtown Branson Betterment Association (DBBA) has used the Missouri Main Street Program's revitalization methods since 1988. National standards for participation in the Main Street program require that all cities hoping for recognition must provide annual documentation of 10 criteria that govern the activities of the administrator and board of directors for their Main Street group.

"The Main Street Program has raised the bar for cities that want this recognition," said DBBA President Bob Warlick, in a news release. "Cities that qualified at one time might not be able to meet the requirements now.

"Without meeting all 10 criteria, they can't receive on-site technical services, and in the future they will have to meet at least five of the criteria in order to attend the Main Street Manager's Training Seminars," he added.

The 10 criteria are: the ability of the local Main Street organization to show broad-based public and private support; vision and mission statements; an annual plan of work; historic preservation ethic; active board of directors and committees; an adequate budget; a professional staff; ongoing training for staff, directors and volunteers; reporting of economic statistics; and membership in the National Main Street Network which links Main Street cities in all 50 states.

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