BATON ROUGE, La. – Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser, the Office of Cultural Development, and Louisiana Main Street are proud to announce the Hammond Downtown Development District has been awarded one of three 2022 Great American Main Street Award (GAMSA) for their innovative use of the Main Street Approach, including excellence in comprehensive preservation-based commercial district revitalization. The 2022 GAMSA designation, sponsored by The Hartford, were presented at the opening session for the Main Street Now Conference in Richmond, VA.

“Congratulations to the Hammond Downtown Development District on this national recognition for their work to transform their community into a catalyst for change. Our historic downtowns are the heart of their communities and the people who live near these areas will reap the benefits from seeing commercial building put into productive use,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “It’s an honor to be able to celebrate this award with the Hammond Downtown Development District for their efforts to give their community a sense of place, character, and a uniqueness that sets them apart from others.”

Selected by a national jury of community development professionals and leaders in the fields of economic development and historic preservation, Hammond Downtown Development District is being recognized for their significant historic preservation efforts, vibrant small business environment, and dedication to inclusive, people-centered placemaking.

“Hammond’s commitment to community engagement is key to their success,” said Main Street America President and CEO, Patrice Frey. “Their significant outreach efforts have ensured that the revitalized district is reflective of the diverse residents, business owners, and visitors in the area.”

“When Louisiana Main Street began in 1984, Hammond was one of four Louisiana communities initially selected. Since that time, the Hammond Downtown Development District has not stopped working to make downtown Hammond better by helping the people of Hammond be early adapters and users of all the tools needed to bring about long-term positive change,” said Ray Scriber, Director of Louisiana Main Street.

Over nearly 40 years, the Hammond Downtown Development District has worked diligently on an impressive transformation that has brought the downtown area back to the forefront of the community. To date, there have been 115 building rehab and re-use projects like the Morgan and Lindsey Apartment project in the mid-1990s, which brought new life to a 100-year-old structure, and the rehabilitation of the historic 1928 Columbia Theatre. Since reopening in 2002, the theater has reemerged as a vital anchor institution that builds upon the region’s rich cultural heritage and generates economic impact through Broadway-style musicals, dance revues, and other performances.

After extensive community engagement, the DDD is working to transform once vacant and underused land into eye-catching public spaces. The new Railroad Park will be turned into a public park, and the Old Feed & Seed property now hosts a community garden and farmer’s market. Hammond DDD launched a range of initiatives to support small business during the pandemic, including a survey that revealed that even though Black residents made up 47.8% of the population, only 4% of the businesses in the district were Black-owned. In response to that survey, HDDD partnered with Urban Market Experience, an organization that supports and uplifts Black entrepreneurs, to help more Black-owned open in the downtown area.

Since 1995, the National Main Street Center has honored exceptional Main Street communities with the Great American Main Street Award. In that time, over 100 communities have been awarded this great honor. Previous Louisiana winners include Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard Main Street, New Orleans, in 2017; Natchitoches Main Street in 2006; and, New Iberia Main Street in 2005.

For more information on Louisiana Main Street communities, please visit the Louisiana Main Street Network webpage. For more information on the 2022 Great American Main Street Award (GAMSA), please visit the Great American Main Street Award webpage.

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