Hammond Main Street 40th Anniversary

Celebrating 40 years of Main Street Success & Downtown Revitalization

The Hammond Downtown Development District (DDD) in partnership with the City of Hammond, Hammond Historic District, and Tangipahoa Chamber of Commerce, will celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Hammond’s Main Street program on Thursday, May 23nd in Railroad Park at 4:30pm. This date has been changed from it's original of May 22nd due to graduates in Hammond having commencement walks that night. In an effort to allow more community members to share the experience of this event with us and making travel through downtown easier, we decided it was best to move the Main Street celebration.

“Hammond’s Main Street program is one of the reasons Hammond is the charming and vibrant downtown that it is today,” DDD Director Michelle Kendall said. “We’ve made quite the turnaround from the boarded up buildings and windows in the 1970s. Now, a stroll through our downtown is met with lively attractions, restaurants, shops, friendly people, and beautiful historic buildings.”

In the mid-1970s, community members and business leaders spearheaded efforts to see the rehabilitation of Hammond’s historic buildings, which resulted in the establishment of the National Register Historic District and Hammond Historic District in 1978. This laid the foundation to form Hammond Main Street in 1984 – making Hammond one of the first four cities that piloted the statewide program, Louisiana Main Street.

Main Street programs carry out community-driven revitalization strategies that stimulate property and local business development in historic downtowns. Strategies include utilization of state and federal tax incentives, building rehabilitation grants, support for local businesses, promotional events and marketing, and more. In 1986, the Hammond DDD was formed to fully implement Hammond Main Street and further incentivize economic development. Funded by local property taxes, the DDD now offers a facade grant program, sidewalk development incentives, a low-interest loan program; hosts annual events such as Hot August Stroll, Starry Saturday, and the weekly Hammond Farmers & Artisans Market; and spurs public space and infrastructure development.

Over the past four decades, Downtown Hammond has experienced over $62 million in local investment, a commercial vacancy rate at less than 10%, over 80 restored historic structures, over 250 active locally-owned businesses, and national recognition for excellence in downtown revitalization through Main Street America’s 2022 Great American Main Street Award. Through the support of the City of Hammond, Hammond Historic District, DDD, and Tangipahoa Chamber, much of the success of Downtown Hammond has been driven by generations of citizens that invested their time and lives to see that Hammond works to exceed its potential.

“From the onset, the Chamber and Main Street’s success has been intertwined,” noted Melissa Bordelon, President and CEO of the Tangipahoa Chamber. “We honor the dedication of countless business leaders who have invested their time, talent, and treasure into shaping the vibrant future of Downtown Hammond." 

To honor Hammond Main Street’s 40th Anniversary, a community celebration will take place in Railroad Park (106 NW Railroad Ave) on Thursday, May 23rd from 4:30-6:30pm. The celebration will include the official unveiling of the newly installed Railroad Park History Exhibit, as well as community-sponsored engraved benches and bricks. The event will feature a live performance by the Swing 101 Big Band, a 19-member Swing music ensemble. Attendees will celebrate Downtown Hammond’s revitalization with a ‘Toast to Downtown’ and are invited to explore the on-site History Exhibit to discover Hammond’s rich history.

Eligible local businesses are invited to participate and will offer food and refreshments for guests to purchase, as well as interactive games and giveaways. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs to enjoy the live music and mingle with community members. 

“The month of May also celebrates National Preservation Month. The decades of preservation work that has transformed Downtown Hammond is truly remarkable and we cannot wait to celebrate with the community,” said Heather Diebold, Hammond Historic District Coordinator. 

Hammond’s Main Street program is designated by Louisiana Main Street, accredited by Main Street America, and coordinated by the Hammond Downtown Development District in partnership with the Hammond Historic District and City of Hammond.

Please be mindful of the street closure details as you come to visit our downtown on Thursday, May 23rd between 3:00PM and 7:30PM. 

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