2023 Report to Our Community
A message from our Executive Director
Wow, what a year! While 2021 was a year of organizational planning coming out of the COVID days, 2022 was definitely a year of implementation and growth!
In partnership with a small group of Keystone Group Members, our Mural Committee got to work raising funds and starting a restoration plan for downtown Sterling’s historic murals. Bringing back the original artist, Robert Valadez, “Adelante” underwent a full restoration over the summer.
Our Economic Vitality Committee continued pursuing the creation of a retail incubator and broke ground on the project in July, partnering with the Whiteside Area Career Center’s Building Trades class for much of the construction which remains ongoing. The application process for our first round of entrepreneurs is winding down and we anticipate having 6 new businesses open later this spring! This project would not have been possible without the financial investment from area businesses and individuals like you, and the commitment of the City of Sterling. Sterling Main Street was blessed to receive a T-Mobile Hometown Grant of $50,000 for the project – having been selected as one of 25 recipients nationwide for this grant from a pool of over 400 applicants.
The Twin City Farmers Market continued work on its list of improvements to better serve our community. The year-round farmers market saw the construction of a new deck, completed for safer access to the indoor space, as well as a new glass garage door on the north side of the building, replacing an old metal rollup door that was becoming increasingly hazardous. During 2022, our Market welcomed 71 different vendors utilizing both its indoor, year-round Market space and the outdoor Sterling Marketplace pavilion.
In addition to 52 weeks of Farmers Markets in 2022, Sterling Main Street hosted a dozen other community events. 236 volunteers provided 1,288 hours of service to help bring those activities to life. Our Sip+Shop events held in both the spring and fall saw 15 different businesses participating and great attendance. Our Spring event was SOLD OUT! Mother Nature was not cooperative for our Car Show, but despite the gloomy weather it was a profitable event for our organization. We expanded our summer Pop-Up Market series to 6 events over the 3 month period. The Market series welcomed 49 unique vendors and saw quite an uptick in guest attendance. Hot Dog Day was another sell out event with over 7,000 hot dogs served up during the 3 hour event. 24 businesses took part – be it cooking, sidewalk sales, or other fun activities. The Fun Fair provided in conjunction with the B.L.I.N.D. student leadership group was a huge hit as well. Hops on the Rock saw beautiful weather for the day. Attendance was up, new regional brewery participation was up, and the feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive as we continue to grow this event. The Downtown Christmas Walk saw record turn out and near perfect weather. Seasonal Sights & Sounds was the perfect note to end what’s been a fantastic year on.
Sterling Main Street was recognized at the Illinois Main Street Conference held in Bloomington in October with The Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Revitalization for Organization. This award recognizes Main Streets who create a strong foundation for a sustainable revitalization effort, including cultivating partnerships, community involvement, and resources for its district.
Main Street was pleased to take part in a Community Pride workshop with the cities of Sterling and Rock Falls, along with other community partners. You’ll see more work inspired by that workshop coming in 2023. We also enjoy being a part of the City’s Riverfront Commission, and working with their partners Gorman & Co. and Studio GWA, in promoting revitalization of Sterling’s riverfront.
A few of our goals for 2023 and beyond…
- With a continued focus on the growth of entrepreneurship and business development, Sterling Main Street will further explore ways to expand the Twin City Farmers Market, the Shoppes at Grandon Plaza and Pop-Up Market opportunities.
- Sterling Main Street will continue strategic partnerships with the Sauk Valley Area Chamber of Commerce, City of Sterling, Sterling Today, Greater Sterling Development Corp, Sauk Valley Community College, Woodlawn Arts Academy, and others on collaborative projects such as the Keystone Group, riverfront redevelopment, mural restoration, banners for the 1st Avenue Bridge and more.
- Sterling Main Street will continue its volunteer recruitment efforts to engage more of the public in its committees and event planning.
How you can help
Our 2023 Partnership Campaign is now underway. In addition to the many specific event-related promotional opportunities Sterling Main Street offers, we have a number of ongoing programs and revitalization activities for which funding is also needed. Partnership opportunities are welcomed from both businesses and individuals.
To learn more about all of the ways available to support Sterling Main Street…
Click HERE to view a printable PDF document
or HERE for an online response form.
Thank you for your ongoing support of Sterling Main Street and the revitalization of Downtown Sterling!
*Please click HERE to download a printable version of our Annual Report & Partnership Campaign
# # # #