Historic Lebanon’s mission is the revitalization of Lebanon’s Public Square and surrounding neighborhoods. We are a non-profit organization and a certified Tennessee Main Street program. We also receive annual accreditation from the National Main Street Center. Historic Lebanon uses the 4-point Main Street approach of Design/Historic Preservation, Economic Vitality, Promotion and Organization to achieve our goals.
Our focus is to preserve Lebanon’s historic buildings, increase tourism, entice more entrepreneurs and to create a sense of place in our historic downtown core. We want to use the historic properties in new ways to create a vibrant area with restaurants, retail/office spaces and urban living. Another goal is a more walkable downtown with public green spaces, a direct connection to the Music City Star commuter train station through a walking trail and the installation of public art. These improvements will create a gathering place for locals as well as increase tourism to the historic downtown.
Simply put; Historic Lebanon strives to enhance Lebanon’s quality of life and to increase our profile as a great small town.
Educating the public on Lebanon’s rich history is another part of our mission. The organization has produced a Historic Driving Tour and written two books on local history: Images of America, Lebanon published November 2014 and 203 East Main Street, 100 years, Celebrating the History of Lebanon’s Original Federal Post Office Building, published October 2013.
Historic Lebanon is also in charge of the local Tennessee Main Street program. A real advantage of Main Street communities is the program’s strength in achieving economic vitality. Studies show for every one dollar invested in a historic downtown, there is a thirty-six dollar return. This return on investment (ROI) is achieved by using the four points of the Main Street program, Design, Organization, Promotion and Economic Vitality to present our Square is its best light. These four elements come together to create positive economic progress for the community.
We have received two major grants from the TN Main Street program. First, is the Façade Improvement Grant ($100,000) awarded in November 2016 for historic properties on the Public Square and second is the TN Main Street Entrepreneur Grant ($50,000) awarded in March 2017. Both of these awards are the results of multi-year planning and focusing on the mission of a revitalized Historic Public Square area and surrounding neighborhoods. Going forward, we will keep the focus on improvements to the historic downtown core as well as the economic growth of the area.
Historic Lebanon was charted in 2007 as a 501c3 non-profit. We are a community based, independent organization with an all-volunteer board. In the fall of 2012, after working towards this goal for several years, we were able to hire an executive director. The following year, we achieved another long-time goal of becoming a member of the Tennessee Main Street program.
Historic Lebanon’s top five most pressing needs are:
- Annual sponsorships. The levels are: Benefactor sponsor- $3,000 per year for a three year period, and Patron Sponsor- $1,500 per year for a three year period.
- Community partnerships/sponsors for the new Entrepreneur Center
- Donations for our annual programming such as the Farm to Table Dinner, Historic Places Tour, Friends of Historic Lebanon Dinner and educational events
- Donations for operational expenses. This can be any amount of unrestricted funds.
- Volunteers for projects and events