EMSI Receives State Designation

The Greater Easton Development Partnership (GEDP) and its Easton Main Street Initiative program got some good news this week, as the Wolf Administration named it to the 2021 list of Keystone Communities Main Street Programs in the state.

The designation means that Easton Main Street Initiative (EMSI) is a community revitalization organization recognized and supported by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) — a link that will bolster EMSI through Jan. 31, 2026. It is one of 13 programs throughout the state that received this distinction.

For the next five years, EMSI will be eligible for technical assistance and programmatic support from the Pennsylvania Downtown Center (PDC) and will receive priority status for funding applications submitted to the state’s DCED.

“This is a significant affirmation for us,” says Kim Kmetz, manager-EMSI. “This designation means the state recognizes our efforts in Easton, supports our plans and knows our work is not done here.”

Through the Pennsylvania Downtown Center, EMSI can also apply for planning funds, and grants for implementation, facade restoration, development and public space improvements. The designation also makes it eligible for Neighborhood Assistance Program Enterprise Zone tax credits for private sector development within the designated Main Street Program area, according to a news release from the state.

“The Easton Main Street Initiative is an example of a business district revitalization effort that has through the years followed its asset-based, market-driven vision and strategy to grow into the downtown it’s become,” PDC’s Executive Director, Julie Fitzpatrick said in the release. “It has been exciting to witness the evolution of Easton as a thriving and vibrant downtown. With the leadership of Kim Kmetz, Main Street Manager- Easton Main Street Initiative, PDC looks forward to helping to guide this effort into the future.”

EMSI has been a nationally-accredited Main Street program since 2007, and was named the No.1 Main Street program in the state five times. EMSI was formed in 2005 and works with the City of Easton, community partners and other GEDP programs to support community revitalization within its 20-square-block territory.

Kmetz notes that as part of the process, EMSI had to submit a 196-page application listing the program’s accomplishments and vision for Easton going forward. The process started in 2018, but was delayed because of the pandemic. EMSI was just notified this week that they’d made the 2021 list of Main Street communities.

“I’m proud of the framework that EMSI has put in place to engage volunteers, support Downtown Easton business owners and connect with our other GEDP programs to plan events and programs that draw neighbors and visitors to Downtown Easton,” said Jared Mast, executive director-GEDP. “EMSI is just one of GEDP’s varied programs, all of which work together to nurture Easton’s economic vitality, cultural vibrancy and to make the city more welcoming and sustainable.”