McPherson Main Street is working to define its future path after the state closed its Main Street program in 2012.

McPherson Main Street is working to define its future path after the state closed its Main Street program in 2012.

Ann Engel, McPherson Main Street director, told Main Street members at the group’s annual meeting Monday leaders from the state’s Main Street organizations have been meeting monthly to trade ideas and discuss the future of their programs.

McPherson Main Street did not pay membership fees to nor did it receive funding from the state organization.

McPherson Main Street continues to be a member of the national Main Street organization.

McPherson Main Street had received funding from the Kansas Department of Commerce for the Incentives Without Walls loan program.

Main Street has $80,000 on loan under that program to local businesses and plans to loan another $20,000. Although there will be no new funds, the money already in that program will stay in the community. As businesses pay off their loans, money will be available for new loans, Engel said.

Kansas’ Main Street organizations have discussed three possible plans of action in the wake of the closing of the state Main Street program.

1) Create a new non-profit organization. Member Main Street programs would pay dues, which would be used to support a state director.

This idea has not been well-supported by other Main Street programs, Engel said. The other Main Street leaders said it was difficult enough to raise funds for projects in their own communities without raising more funds for state organization dues.

2) Network Kansas, an entrepreneurial program, has offered to partner with the state’s Main Street programs. Engel said Main Street members could benefit from a variety of education programs offered by Network Kansas.

3) Go it alone. Engel said many of the Main Streets are leaning toward this option.

She said McPherson Main Street members could choose what individual learning opportunities in which they wished to participate.

A ballot will be created for the McPherson membership to vote on how they wish to proceed.

Local attorney Michael Mills said he thought the state’s Main Streets could help each other without a paid director. He suggested the leaders of the state’s Main Street programs take turns to produce a newsletter or contribute to a collective website.

Engel said Main Street continues to be an important part of McPherson Community.

“Main Street is the living room of our community,” she said. “When people come into town for the first time, downtown is their first impression of our community. ... We believe we have a lot to offer.”

Main Street and its members sponsor events throughout the year. Two of the most popular events are the Burnin’ Down Main Chili, Soup and Dessert Contest and Shop the Night Away.

After years of supporting the chili contest, Wendy’s will not be sponsoring the 2013 Burnin’ Down Main, which will be Oct. 5. Main Street is looking for another sponsor or sponsors for this event.

This year’s theme for the shopping event, which will be July 12, will be Shop the Night Away Goes to the Circus. Main Street is looking for businesses wishing to sponsor events associated with that theme.

Main Street also plans again to sponsor Mini Main on Dec. 7, which is a Christmas shopping event for children.

During the meeting Monday, the outgoing board members were recognized, which included Sarah Brooks, Kari Lynns Bridal & Prom; Michael Wilde, Wal-Mart Supercenter; Bryce Brewer, Peoples Bank & Trust; and Brandi Nelson, Walgreens.

The 2013 board includes Sandy Ide, president, Sunflower Bank; Ann Koehn, secretary/treasurer, MiMac Printer; Scott Serier, past president, Central College; Rich Martin, president elect, Central College; Titus Brandt, Little Caesars; Mary Steffes, Fee Insurance; Lanae Powell, Ellene McKean & Associates; Michael Yates, Mattress Haven; Shannon Wilson, King Enterprises Group; Sheryl Dossett, Peoples Bank & Trust; and Larry Showalter, Walgreens.

There is one board opening at this time.