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Main Street Institute hosted in Statesboro
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     Main Street directors from all over Georgia are converging on Statesboro for their annual Main Street Institute. Formerly called Main Street Training 101, the event gives directors the hands-on training they need to master the Main Street approach to downtown revitalization.
    Heath Seymour, director of the Downtown Development Authority and Statesboro’s Main Street, said the institute is a way for directors from around the state to network and share ideas.
    “It’s all about sharing problems and solutions,” said Seymour. “You get to learn about what other people are doing — what’s worked and what hasn’t. It’s a real direct way to exchange ideas.”
    Opening and keynote speaker Donavan Rypkema is a 25-year veteran in the field of downtown development. From his international travels, he brings back new ideas and perspectives to examine what might work in community revitalization here in the states.
    Between 140 and 170 people from all over the state will participate in the institute. The economic impact to Statesboro is estimated to be $75,000 with tax dollars from lodging supporting the Statesboro Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, the Downtown Development Authority and the Averitt Center for the Arts.
    Jaime Riggs from the Visitor’s Bureau said she’s excited to have the Institute held in Statesboro.
    “It’s an honor to host a symposium of this magnitude,” said Riggs.   
    As a precursor to the Main Street Initiative, 100 people were in Statesboro Tuesday for Georgia Applause, a symposium for historical theatres. Applause was started this year by the tourism division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development as a part of its creative economics initiative.
    Statesboro and the Averitt Center for the Arts are being used as the model for how the arts and theatre can work in conjunction with a city to assist the revitalization of the downtown environment.

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