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Vandalia Main Street, Whiteman recognized by state

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By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

Vandalia's Main Street Program and its manager were both recognized last week as being among the best in the state.

A third award presented to the local program honored a new Vandalia business.

At the 14th annual Illinois Main Street Conference in Danville, Vandalia Main Street was one of six community Main Street programs receiving a Premier designation. Also at the conference, Vandalia Main Street Program Manager Dana Whiteman was one of three finalists for manager of the year.

The Premier award was presented to the local Main Street Program by Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn "for its efforts to maintain extraordinarily high standards and become leaders throughout the state."

Whiteman said that applicants for Premier status are required to present supporting documentation on such things as major projects offered, accomplishments, community involvement and how the local program affects the community.

The award presented to the Vandalia Main Street Program, which is in its 11th year and is one of 70 local programs in Illinois, recognizes the efforts of the program manager and its volunteers.

The local volunteers, which Whiteman said total about 110, played a big role in earning the designation.

"We have just an outstanding group of volunteers, and it's such a broad base," Whiteman said.

"And those volunteers run the gamut," she said. "We have some people who wish to work at one specific event, such as Corn Day, and also some who play a bigger role, who take on responsibilities such as helping to organize and run an event or project."

The program's "Olde Tyme Christmas," held last Friday, and its Corn Day celebration in the fall are two stellar examples of activities offered by Vandalia Main Street, she said, and its accomplishments have included the development of Lincoln Park and the parking lot in the 100 block of South Fifth Street, and the creation of Vandalias Abraham Lincoln statue.

Whiteman, who is nearing her second year as manager of the Vandalia Main Street Program, was one of three finalists for the Executive Director of the Year Award.

Each candidate for that award is nominated by the president of his or her respective executive board, and the nomination includes support from at least one local merchant and one municipal official.

Illinois Main Street also considers each candidate's record of filing monthly reports required by the state organization and participation in Illinois Main Street meetings and activities.

The finalists and award winner are chosen through a vote among all executive directors in the state.

Vandalia Main Street was also honored at the conference with a New Business Success Story Award, for its support of Fit Chix. That business, established by Lisa Jordan as a tanning center, moved downtown and expanded to include a women-only fitness center.