Heart of Tyler depends on the support of the many individuals, businesses and institutions to keep our organization running. Here we highlight these individuals, businesses and institutions that support the Heart of Tyler.
Your downtown or traditional commercial district is the most visible indicator of community pride, along with its economic and social health. It is either an asset or a liability in the effort to recruit new residents, new businesses and industries, retirees, tourists, and others to your community and to keep those you already have. Quality of life is what separates successful cities and towns from declining communities in the new millennium. Finally, your downtown or neighborhood commercial district is the visual representation for your community’s heritage. The architecture of your commercial district is a physical expression of your community’s history. The Main Street approach encourages forward-thinking economic development in an historic preservation context so this community asset and legacy can be passed on to future generations.
Why Downtown Tyler is Important
- Downtown districts are prominent employment centers. Even the smallest commercial district employs hundreds of people, and often the district is collectively the community’s largest employer.
- The downtown district is a reflection of community image, pride, prosperity, and level of investment — critical factors in business retention and recruitment efforts.
- Downtown represents a significant portion of the community’s tax base. If the district declines, property values drop, placing more of a tax burden on other parts of town.
- The traditional commercial district is an ideal location for independent businesses, which in turn:
- Keeps profits in town with local owners
- Supports other local businesses and services
- Supports local families with family-owned businesses
- Supports local community projects
- Provides a stable economic foundation with direct ties to the community
- Downtown is the historic core of the community. Its buildings embody the community’s past and its visual identity.
- A vital downtown area reduces sprawl by concentrating business in one area and uses community resources wisely, such as existing infrastructure, tax dollars, and land.
- A healthy downtown core protects property values in surrounding residential neighborhoods.
- The district is a government center where city hall, municipal buildings, the courthouse, and/or post office are located. It often is an important service center as well for finding attorneys, insurance offices, financial institutions and other important services.
- Downtown provides an important civic forum, where members of the community can congregate. Special events and celebrations held downtown reinforce intangible sense of community.
- Downtown represents a huge public and private investment. Imagine how much it would cost to re-create all of the buildings and public infrastructure in Tyler’s downtown.
Information from the National Trust Main Street Center: www.mainstreet.org
The Beginning: The Heart of Tyler Main Street Program is Tyler’s only 501(c)3 non-profit organization solely dedicated to the economic, cultural and historic revitalization of downtown Tyler. We work in association with the City of Tyler, the Texas Main Street Program of the Texas Historical Commission and the National Main Street Center of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Heart of Tyler is a volunteer-driven, 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
In 1987, a group of citizens concerned about the decline of downtown Tyler formed a non-profit organization called Heart of Tyler, Inc. The organization worked with existing groups to plan, promote and coordinate mutual goals for downtown.
Main Street Program Designation: In 1990, the Texas Historical Commission offered a Main Street program for cities with populations over 50,000. Tyler became one of the first communities in Texas to receive the Urban Program designation. The Heart of Tyler Main Street Program officially began on Jan. 22, 1990, when Director Claire Squibb was hired.
Achievements: Over time, there have been many success stories to celebrate. Heart of Tyler has been the driving force behind restoration of the Cotton Belt Depot, lighting improvements in the district, being an integral force for development of the arts in Downtown Tyler, hosting the Texas Downtown Association conference, assisting dozens of property owners with design services, creation of events such as 6×6@110, the Downtown Tyler Wine Swirl, the award-winning Black Tie Bingo, Toast to Downtown Tyler and so much more.
Heart of Tyler continues to use the very successful Main Street Four Point Approach: we work in the four areas of Organization, Promotion, Economic Restructuring and Design in order to revitalize the downtown area.
The program continues stronger than ever. Volunteers contribute thousands of hours of professional and support services to the downtown revitalization effort each year. In addition to the many honors received for program performance and downtown projects, downtown reinvestment now tops well over $200 million since 2007.