Heritage Ohio rejects bid for recognition

The Warren GROWs project manager announced his resignation.
WARREN -- Two downtown redevelopment agencies were notified Friday that their bid to make Warren a nationally recognized historical community has not succeeded -- at least for this year.
Warren GROWs (Grassroots Revitalization of Warren) -- an umbrella organization of the Warren Redevelopment and Planning Corp. -- filed an application last month with Heritage Ohio to become a Main Street Community.
Through financial grants and strategic planning, the Main Street program helps Ohio communities preserve historic sites while bringing new businesses into the community.
Anthony Iannucci, the WRAP executive director, said he was disappointed but not deterred by Heritage Ohio's decision. During the 10 years the program has been in operation, only 32 Ohio communities have been accepted, Iannucci said.
"It's a difficult process, and it should be difficult," he said. "If it were easy to get accreditation it wouldn't be meaningful. For the Main Street designation to be valuable it has to be challenging."
What was said
In a letter sent to WRAP and Warren GROWs, the Heritage Ohio Main Street Selection Committee wrote that they felt "another year would mature the existing program in its mission and execution." The committee also suggested further development of grass-roots support and participation in training activities by members and staff.
At the urging of Heritage Ohio, WRAP and Warren GROWs will apply in 2008 to become a Main Street community, Iannucci said.
Warren GROWs also announced that program manager Michael Maggiano had submitted his resignation at the end of October.
Warren GROWs did not make the resignation public until now because they felt Maggiano's decision might affect the Heritage Ohio application, Iannucci said.
WRAP hired Maggiano to begin a process for downtown development, and Maggiano felt that he had achieved his goals in that area, Iannucci said. Maggiano was not available for comment Friday.
Warren GROWs will begin looking for a new program manager in December, Iannucci said.
In 2005, WRAP and Warren GROWs began working on a comprehensive plan to meet Heritage Ohio's requirements.
In January this year, a master plan with 15 goals and 74 strategies was presented. Shortly thereafter, Warren GROWs was established as a separate, independent affiliate of WRAP to lead the revitalization effort.

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