Paris announces new Main Street program director

Miranda Holman
Paris Express

Shawna Stengel is ready to bring a new vision to Main Street Paris as its new program director.

“I can’t wait to get started on projects and finish them [projects] so our community can see that our downtown revitalization is headed in the right direction!”

Shawna comes to this position bringing fresh ideas and new vision and is currently pursuing her Bachelor's degree in Organizational Leadership at Arkansas Tech University.

“I have been a licensed massage therapist for 6 years now and a substitute teacher at County Line for 3 years. I recently decided to pursue a new job as Director for Main Street Paris.”

Main Street Paris became a downtown network program four years ago and according to PACC Director Tonya Baumgartner, the goal from the very beginning was to become a full main street program and hire a director that could focus full-time on the grant opportunities that the program has access to.

“We will see many improvements in our downtown by having a director dedicated to the program. We will also have opportunities for other improvements around town in grant money that’s available throughout the state.”

One of her first priorities, Stengel said, is helping the existing business get back on their feet after COVID. Stengel also plans to start working on getting new businesses in downtown Paris and making the downtown even more beautiful.

As program director, Stengel’s’ duties will include leading communication between the Paris Main Street Program board and the city, building relationships with downtown business owners, marketing, applying for grants and working with the board to put into practice the program’s four-point approach to Main Street revitalization: economic vitality, promotion, organization and design.

“As director I will be providing guidance to new and existing businesses which will in the future help our community grow.”

Stengel said that the Main Street Paris board members are continuing training on how to implement the program’s four-point approach to Main Street revitalization and that there are a few board positions open that need to be filled to be more effective at large.

Shawna has already hit the ground running by building a website, creating a Facebook page, attending training classes, and learning about grant opportunities.

“I’m so excited to see the Main Street Paris program help our community grow under her leadership. I have no doubt she will take it to the next level,” said Baumgartner.

Main Street Pariswas recently designated as an Affiliate Main Street America™ program for 2020. According to a spokesperson for Main Street America, each year, Main Street America recognizes Affiliate programs in recognition of their dedication to creating positive change in their downtowns and commercial districts using the Main Street Approach™, a framework for preservation-based economic development and community revitalization.

Prior to 2020 Main Street Paris was a Downtown Network Program. Being upgraded to an Affiliate Main Street Program, will award more grant funds to the community.

“I encourage any community members that have ideas for our downtown to share their thoughts. The program will focus on bringing new business to town as well as continue the curb appeal while helping the existing businesses expand,” said Baumgartner.

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