Main Street Murfreesboro celebrates downtown achievements at the Annual Celebration event at the Walnut House, Thursday February 22.

Main Street Board and committee volunteers show up to celebrate downtown achievements made in 2023.

2023 Celebration Ceremony Downtown

Thursday, February 22 Main Street Murfreesboro held its 39th annual celebration to highlight awards given in 2023.  

With over 70,000 people attending Main Street events throughout 2023, there was a lot to be grateful for.  Main Street Murfreesboro allocated $22,000 in downtown grants including the facade grant for three business owners as well as the temporary sculptures brought to the downtown in 2023.  

With an estimated 550 businesses thriving in the downtown business district, a recorded 57 were brand new in 2023, with 85 businesses closing their doors.  $5 million in private funding was spent on downtown improvement projects by business and property owners; and a combined $753,000 in public funds (city and county) was spent on projects and studies for the downtown in 2023.  

Property Enhancement Grant recipients recognized for their contribution.

A reimbursement program through Main Street Murfreesboro that requires the building owner or tenant to contribute a matching amount to the grant awarded.  The Property Enhancement grant seeks to encourage building owners and tenants to invest in properties located within the Main Street Murfreesboro footprint by financially assisting with building needs that serve an appropriate public purpose and benefit.  The intention is to stimulate building improvements while being mindful of the historical significance and uniqueness of this district. 

118 North Church Street, awarded a $8,000 grant from Main Street, was one of those recipients. Chris Bilbro, G&C Properties, purchased the building and took on a restoration project to preserve, restore and enhance the historic and architectural elements of the building by mimicking original brick detail work from other parts of the facade when the old windows were filled in.  He added new, curved windows which are raised so as not be interrupted by the interior floor, and which will match the roofline of the facade.  

“I express my commitment to the historic preservation of 118 North Church St in Murfreesboro during the renovation we are doing on the third floor.  My wife, Gretchen, and I have felt for many years that the historic buildings on and around the square in Murfreesboro have been sadly underutilized or neglected.  We have made it a goal to help save as many old buildings as possible, and to spread awareness of the locally owned businesses in the downtown area.  Through our other businesses and ventures, we are dedicated to bringing more people to the historic downtown are to eat, work, play and live,” stated Bilbro in his grant application.

Another grant winner was Michael Busey, State Farm, business owner of 123 N. Maple Street.  He was awarded a $5,000 grant to replace three long exterior windows on the second floor of the building.  

The third grant was awarded to Stephen Green and Thomas Parkerson, Green Park Investments at 112 South Maple Street.  Their $5,000 grant went to improve the front and rear facade of the building, where window frames were rotted and needed replacement and rear steps had deteriorated and needed repair.  

Business Partner of the Year announced for 2023

Main Street Murfreesboro presented Redstone Federal Credit Union with the Business Partner of the Year Award for 2023 for going above and beyond the asks of a sponsor.  

“At Redstone we believe in people helping people. We do this by helping members, their families, and our communities achieve their financial dreams. We also believe in giving back to our communities. One way is by supporting organizations such as Main Street who believe that the downtown area is the heart of our community. It is a place that so many can come together and celebrate all that is great and unique about our community. We are fortunate to have a downtown filled with so many amazing local businesses and so many events. From the farmers market to a wonderful night at Friday Night Live. Main Street continues to show Murfreesboro why our downtown is so special. And as an organization we want to support that. We are grateful for such a wonderful honor, but we would not be here without you," shared Francela Salas, the Community Relations Coordinator for Redstone Federal Credit Union and the 2024 Main Street Board Chair.  

Board members stepping down and new members joining the organization in 2024.

Main Street Murfreesboro acknowledged the volunteer work of three board members who had served their terms in the organization and were stepping down.  Jonathan Harmon, who joined the board in 2021, Sean Gililland, who joined in 2006, and Dr. Gloria Bonner, who joined in 2000.  

Dr.Bonner, having served on Main Street's board for the past 24 years, along with Sean Gililland for 18 years, were honored for their servant leadership and their work in establishing Main Street as a pillar in the downtown community.  Both individuals had served as Board Chairs and Committee chairs for several years.  

Three new board members were introduced during the ceremony including Dr. Monica Smith, Assistant to the President for Community Engagement and Inclusion at Middle TN. State University, Jeff Murphy, business owner of Domenico's Italian Deli downtown, and Jessica Seegert, a property owner downtown.  

Ashley McDonald was also honored for her time as Board Chair in 2023.  

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