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Posted on Thu, Feb 23, 2012 : 9:30 a.m.

Saline selected for Michigan Main Street Program to help preserve, revitalize downtown

By Danny Shaw


The Holiday Parade rolls down Michigan Avenue in downtown Saline. Saline will get help preserving and revitalizing downtown through the Michigan Main Street program.

Melanie Maxwell |

After two years of planning and preparation, the City of Saline has been accepted to the Michigan Main Street Program, Gov. Rick Snyder announced Wednesday.

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority selected Saline for the program, which will provide five years of technical assistance focusing on ways to attract businesses and residents to the downtown area, the state said in news release.

"The Michigan Main Street program will help Saline create opportunities for redevelopment, placemaking and economic growth, just as it has in downtowns throughout Michigan," Snyder said in the release.

Saline Mayor Gretchen Driskell said the program is a great tool that will help, not only the downtown area, but the city as a whole.

“The concept is that it’s not a city program, it’s a community program,” Driskell said. “It will help make us that much stronger and dynamic. I’m really excited to see this happen.”

Driskell said the program is an incentive to potential business owners looking to open shop knowing the city is a Michigan Main Street program.


Saline's downtown at night.

Courtesy photo, Saline Area Chamber of Commerce

There are 38 participating communities in Michigan, according to the news release.

"Programs like Michigan Main Street provide downtown communities with the tools needed to develop thriving downtowns," said MSHDA's Executive Director Gary Heidel in the release. "In turn, these tools can be used to create jobs, provide desirable places to live and build a sense of place for Michigan residents."

The Michigan Main Street Program focuses on four points of enhancement: organization, promotion, design and economic restructuring, the release states.

Cindy Czubko, Saline Historic Downtown Alliance board president, said the program will help Saline build a volunteer-driven organization aimed at the revitalization of downtown Saline. She thinks one of the indicators of a healthy community is the health of its downtown.

“Success of the program will be based on the volunteer involvement and the partnership relationships we build along the way,” Czubko wrote in an email. “So far, the community support has been amazing!” Czubko said the two-year process involved more than 100 community members, and a new non-profit called Saline Main Street will house the new program. The city will have representation on both the board and committees of Saline Main Street, wrote Czubko.

Art Trapp, Saline’s downtown development director, said the program helps to provide training and guidance on not only how to attract more businesses, but how to maintain a larger, more economically viable downtown area.

“Saline is in pretty good shape and this will help keep it that way,” Trapp said. “It gives direction and helps us in going forward with the community.”

Trapp said the program also provides opportunities for state grants the city wasn’t eligible for in the past. It will also provide ways to promote volunteerism for downtown activities and events.

“After two years of work, it’s neat to see it come to a conclusion,” he said. “And it’s a good conclusion.”

Read the full release here.

Contact reporter Danny Shaw at 734-623-2544 or



Wed, Mar 28, 2012 : 4:45 p.m.

The Saline Government doesn't help their own as it is. When the housing market was so good in the early 2000's the city raised their property taxes to reflect that. Now they won't lower them. Disgruntled in Saline


Sat, Feb 25, 2012 : 8:54 a.m.

There is no reason to go to downtown Saline. What is there that I cannot get somewhere else? A few OK restaurants & a bar, Why should I go?


Sat, Feb 25, 2012 : 3 a.m.

The biggest problem in Saline is backwardness. The downtown is lovely, and could be absolutely fabulous with it extending in every direction from the four corners and the main drag down US 12. The old-timers and their progeny are the problem. They do not welcome outsiders. I actually had someone say to me when we moved to the Saline Schools from out of state, "I hate what has happened to Saline." I immediately wanted to move to Ann Arbor where that hatred was not tolerated, or at least verbalized.


Fri, Feb 24, 2012 : 2:25 a.m.

I go to the Farmers Market in the summer months. I fear for my life when crossing Michigan Ave., and I'm in the cross walk with the crossing signal on? I've been buzzed more then a few times. Add to that flagrant speeding and truck traffic. The Saline police are where?


Thu, Feb 23, 2012 : 4:18 p.m.

Seems to me their biggest problem, and one that can never be overcome, is that US-12 runs smack dab down their main street. All that traffic is definitely a deterrent.


Thu, Feb 23, 2012 : 10:03 p.m.

the problem is, if US12 was routed around the City, (MDOT contemplated that back in 2004) the traffic would reduce the liveliness of downtown. Funding for the roadway could possibly wain too if they didn't maintain that road stretch as state maintained or a business route. It's a blessing and curse. Saline has had discussions and session on traffic calming and a way to make US12 more like Michigan Ave is in Ypsilanti with center curbs, raised crosswalks, and ways to make traffic turn left at certain intersections and still support pedestrian traffic.