Oak Harbor Main Street Association actively promotes a vibrant, historic waterfront community.
Historic downtown Oak Harbor is a waterfront community surrounded by the beauty of the Olympics, Cascades, and the Puget Sound. If you follow the gateway signage leading to downtown you will find a clean, safe environment and a warm friendly and welcoming downtown with hometown pioneer spirit. You can reach us via foot, bike, car, local transit, boat, water taxi, or by trolley. Our attractive storefronts capture the history and character of our area and offer a unique variety of locally owned shops and restaurants. Leisurely stroll through downtown and along the waterfront and enjoy the views, the public art, shops, restaurants, dock, and the outdoor markets. Meet your friends, neighbors, family and visitors at one of the local gathering places and outdoor parks and take part in the numerous outdoor activities and festivals that are available.
Community is the key word in our historic downtown. We have created a lively community center where people want to come and spend time exploring and enjoying the area. This has not happened overnight but has developed over time with the support of visionary leadership, dedicated volunteers, and strong partnerships with local government, businesses, educational institutions, and community members. Property owners have invested in the success of our downtown showing their pride by improving their buildings and facades. The recent streetscape has incorporated sustainable practices, honoring the community history and enhancing the downtown.
We have a calendar full of activities that are diverse, creative and unique which attract and benefit residents, visitors, civic groups and all those that want to participate. Oak Harbor Main Street Association has created a place to come home to where you can "shop, walk, and dine” and enjoy hometown pioneer spirit.
The Main Street Four-Point Approach:
The Main Street Four-Point Approach is a unique preservation-based economic development tool that enables communities to revitalize downtown and neighborhood business districts by leveraging local assets- from historic, cultural, and architectural resources to local enterprises and community pride. It is a comprehensive strategy that address the variety of issues and problems that challenge traditional commercial districts.
The Success of the Main Street Approach is based on its comprehensive nature. By carefully integrating four points into a practical downtown management strategy, a local Main Street program will produce fundamental changes in a community's economic base.
Organization involves building a Main Street framework that is well represented by business and property owners, bankers, citizens, historic preservationists, entrepreneurs, public officials, chambers of commerce, and other local economic development organizations. Everyone must work together to renew downtown. A strong organization provides the structure and stability to build and maintain a long-term effort.
Promotion creates excitement and vibrancy downtown. Street festivals, parades, retail events, and image development campaigns are some of the ways Main Street provides education on what's downtown and encourages customer traffic. Promotion involves marketing an enticing image to shoppers, investors, and visitors.
Design enhances the look and feel of the commercial district. Historic building rehabilitation, street and alley clean-up, landscaping, street furniture, signage, visual merchandising and lighting all improve the physical image of the downtown as a quality place to shop, work, walk, invest in , and live. Design improvements result in a reinvestment of public and private dollars to downtown.
Economic Vitality involves analyzing current market forces to develop long-term solutions. Recruiting new businesses, creatively converting unused space for new uses, and sharpening the competitiveness of Main Street's traditional merchants are examples of economic vitality activities.