Mac's Main Street awash in accolades
On one level, McMinnville’s run at the title of Best Main Street in America, as viewed by Parade Magazine and its readers, amounted to nothing more than fun and games. It was a kick in the pants for those who took part, but there was nothing scientific about it.
The venerable Sunday supplement invited readers to send in nominations. From the thousands flooding into its offices on Third Avenue in downtown Manhattan, the 16 deemed most worthy by the selection committee were assigned to brackets modeled after those of the NCAA Sweet 16 collegiate basketball extravaganza.
It was all head-to-head from there, with the field whittled to an Elite Eight, a Final Four and, ultimately, a top-two title matchup based on votes cast electronically by any and all comers. So odds clearly favored the community that could organize most quickly and effectively to turn out the vote among its partisans.
On another level, though, the contest represented a grand opportunity. After all, its almost 75-year-old sponsor inserts 32 million copies into 700 of the nation’s largest Sunday newspapers, drawing an estimated 54 million readers every week. For a tourist-oriented town well into its 2014 season, exposure on that scale is priceless.
Making the field of 16 in itself represented quite an accomplishment. It spoke volumes.
McMinnville was joined by Flagstaff, Arizona; Placerville, California; and Georgetown, Texas, in representing the Great American West. All four were grouped in the same tier.
The rest of the field consisted of a Midwest grouping of Holland, Michigan; Excelsior, Minnesota; Galena, Illinois; and Siloam Springs, Arkansas; a Northeast grouping of Rockland, Maine; Montpelier, Vermont; Ridgefield, Connecticut; and Ellicott City, Maryland; and a Southeast grouping of Collierville, Tennessee; Greenville, South Carolina; DeLand, Florida; and Corinth, Mississippi. Emerging victorious were McMinnville and Siloam Springs on one side of the bracket, Ellicott City and Collierville on the other.
Tuesday’s semifinals produced a pair of photo finishes, with McMinnville edging Siloam Springs 50.13 percent to 49.87 percent and Collierville eking past Ellicott City 51.83 percent to 48.17 percent.
Awaiting the winner is a cover spread later this summer in Parade. (The final result will be kept secret until the cover story is printed.) That’s an impressive prize.
But win or not, Mac has gotten quite a ride out of this battle of the downtowns. And it couldn’t come at a better time:
- We're about to showcase our Main Street by hosting the Oregon Main Street organization's annual convention, and we’re sprucing up for the occasion.
- We're in the process of expanding east with the KAOS project, north with ongoing Granary District projects and northeast with development, still largely conceptual for now, of the Northeast Gateway District.
- Under a partnership of civic and business leaders, we've created an urban renewal district capable of providing the financial fuel it takes to draw private investment.
- We have a November bond issue looming that would fund paving of a key stretch of Alpine, a Gateway District foundation stone.
So if we're not No. 1 yet, just give us time. Here we come.