Main Street’s Purpose

Main Street First, Inc. is a grassroots, not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization made up of citizen volunteers. We work together and in collaboration with the City of Little Falls and other not-for-profits and organizations to support the revitalization of Little Falls through:

  • Organizing the community to create sustainable initiatives to revitalize the city.
  • Supporting city revitalization through smart growth principles.
  • Supporting and participating in the creation of a comprehensive master plan.
  • The participation of all interested parties in directing the city’s future.
  • Citywide residential revitalization.
  • The development of green and sustainable technologies throughout the city.
  • To provide financial assistance and volunteers for the improvement and maintenance of the city’s buildings and homes, and to increase recreational facilities.
  • Plus other related activities!

Main Street First Board of Directors

Judy Wolf

President


Judy Wolf is a board member and current president of Main Street First (as of January 2017). She has been actively involved with Main Street First since she first moved to Little Falls in 2014 after renovating a house with her husband and stepson. More…



Fred Urich

Vice President


Bio coming soon!


Elaine Cobb

Secretary

Bio coming soon!

Chuck Heron

Treasurer

Bio coming soon!



James M Evans

Mike was born and raised in Little Falls, then left for a thirty-year road trip, and returned in 2011. As Mike points out, it may seem strange that someone who is concerned with the environment has an occupation that involves burning hydrocarbons for entertainment (sports car racing), but that is what he does. More…


David Dardzinski


Many people have difficulty envisioning what could be. This is especially difficult when it comes to buildings. Seeing alternatives and potential in these “big picture” projects comes naturally to David, however. He started to apprentice in his architect father’s studio when he was only 12. More…

Gavin Maloney


Schooled in philosophy and the classics, Gavin has been a designer-builder in New York City and Upstate New York for the last 20 years. He specializes in restoring historic buildings, and has several projects completed or underway in the City of Little Falls. More…




Jeffrey Gressler


Jeffrey Gressler has been retired since 2008 before which he taught history at Clinton high school for thirty years. He was a founding member and first president of Main Street First. He is a community volunteer, a City of Little Falls fist ward alderman, and president and board director of the Little Falls Historical Society.

Rob Richard


Rob is a native of Little Falls, graduating from the City’s high school here in 1994. He attended Roberts Wesleyan College, earning a BA in History and Secondary Social Studies Education. Rob moved to Philadelphia after college but always planned to return to Little Falls, the only place he considers “home.” More…

Dawn Ozturk


Bio coming soon!


 

MSF Committees

Think Local Little Falls (TLLF) is a committee of Main Street First. Our members work together to promote a vibrant and healthy economic climate and thriving and inclusive community that is strong in arts and cultural diversity. Our volunteers strive to help Little Falls reach its full potential through:

  • Facilitating and promoting collaboration and connection among local independent businesses and community organizations in the form of community events that strengthen and promote the local economy by attracting and including people of all ages and income levels.
  • Providing educational and collaboration opportunities for local independent businesses and community organizations that help to strengthen our local economy.
  • Raising funds through merchant contributions, community donations, and grants to help facilitate our committee’s and our collective community’s efforts to promote Little Falls, create cultural opportunity, support diversity and inclusiveness, and strengthen our local economy.

Interested in being part of the action? This is one of Main Street First’s most active and popular committees, and there is always something to do to help. Get in touch to learn more!

The TLLF committee meets biweekly Mondays at 5:30 pm right before the regular Main Street First meeting, which begins at 6:30 pm. Both meetings take place at the commercial building on the corner of Salisbury and Main in Little Falls, NY (690 E. Main St). Check out the community calendar for specific dates.

Membership requirements

To become a TLLF member, a business must be able to respond affirmatively to all of the following statements:

  • My business/organization/not-for-profit is privately held (not publicly traded).
  • My business/organization/not-for-profit is located within a 1.5-mile radius of Little Falls. [Note: The TLLF committee may also approve exceptions to this limit where the business is closer (based on shortest driving distance) to Little Falls than to any other shopping district.]
  • My staff is employed by my local business/organization/not-for-profit and not by a corporate headquarters located outside of Little Falls.
  • My business is not a franchise or multi-level marketing (MLM) organization.
Membership Levels
  • Local independent for-profit business: Full membership rights.
  • Local not-for-profit – 501(c)3 and religious organizations: Full membership rights.
  • Local independent fraternal organization – 501(c)4: Associate membership.
  • Non-local business, organizations, or individuals: Welcome to join as a Friend of Think Local.
Membership Benefits

Full members and supporters will benefit from being part of a vibrant volunteer-based organization dedicated to fulfilling its mission. Currently TLLF coordinates educational events; monthly Third Thursday events, including five (5) “Super” Third Thursdays; community decorating during various seasons; a TLLF Facebook page; and a Shop Local web page; and applies for grants to supplement member dues whenever possible. Each event and outreach has parameters and limitations that will be as inclusive as space and traffic generation allows.

  • Full members will have the opportunity to advertise specials and events that support the theme in the monthly flyer (space permitting).
  • Associate members will have the opportunity to ask TLLF to promote via email blast and Facebook posts up to four (4) events per year that are open to the public.
  • Friends of Think Local will be acknowledged on the web site and have the opportunity to sponsor major events.

All events promoted by TLLF must be inclusive and open to the public. TLLF encourages participation in events by people of all, abilities, race, gender, or sexual orientation, without discrimination, and requires member participants in TLLF events to do the same. All membership decisions and inclusion or exclusion of event and specials advertising is subject to review by the TLLF committee.

The Editorial Committee of Main Street First is one of our longest standing committees and revolves around the writing, editing, design, and distribution of the MSF Gazette, our quarterly newsletter. Committee members regularly contribute to the production of our quarterly newsletter, whether by writing articles, taking photographs, or doing layout and design. We also accept articles that are submitted to us if they correspond with MSF’s purpose statement, and we welcome your contributions and ideas.

The full committee proofreads all the articles slated for a Gazette issue and gives feedback. We come to a consensus and request the author to approve of any changes or rewrites. We usually meet two to three times per quarter to get organized and iron out wrinkles before publishing.

We welcome submissions via the website or by contacting a committee member. We also encourage people to join the committee! You do not need to be a member to contribute an article, photos, or information. We only ask that you abide by our submission policies.

Once we have a final draft of the Gazette, we send out an email version (sign up to receive the Gazette electronically) and print numerous copies for distribution around town. We can always use help with folding and distributing newsletters! So please consider contributing to our modest publication in whatever way entices you. We are sure your talents would enhance our efforts and we welcome you to the team!

Another of MSF’s long-standing and active committees, Public Works looks for and coordinates clean-up projects throughout town, both led by MSF and in cooperation with other local non-profits like Rotary. Tasks on cleanups range from sweeping and weeding sidewalks and paths to washing storefront windows and painting bollards. MSF has numerous volunteers who show up for cleanups throughout the year to help beautify and preserve our City. Volunteers are always welcome and appreciated!

Cleanups are especially important in springtime, when we look for opportunities to make the city sparkle for all of our summer festivals! These cleanups are also part of MSF’s commitment as a Keep Mohawk Valley Beautiful member, and are a great way to make our community attractive.

The Public Works Committee is also involved in projects involving public art, like the art benches MSF wrote a grant to have installed along the Canal, as well as urban reforestation initiatives we are currently exploring with NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.

Volunteers on the Main Street First Land Bank committee serve as liaisons with the Greater Mohawk Valley Land Bank and the City of Little Falls to position Main Street First as a not-for-profit partner in local and regional efforts to fight blight and promote revitalization and sustainability. Since our committee’s formation, members have coordinated public education sessions, community meetings, and discussions with representatives of the Greater Mohawk Valley Land Bank and other like-minded organizations to further the goal of revitalizing Little Falls neighborhoods that are facing challenges caused by blight.

While the Greater Mohawk Valley Land Bank is a relatively new initiative, Main Street First has been a long-time member of Keep Mohawk Valley Beautiful, an affiliate of the Keep America Beautiful Program representing the six-county Mohawk Valley Economic Region. Our members actively participate in neighborhood and community cleanup projects, do surveys of blighted properties, work together to report zombie properties to New York State, and work to promote responsible property management in the City of Little Falls. As the Greater Mohawk Valley Land Bank implements its program goals, the Land Bank committee will continue to provide volunteers and community support for initiatives.

If you want to learn more or become part of Main Street First’s Land Bank-related efforts, please let us know!

The Main Street First Clean Energy Task Force formed in response to an opportunity available to the City of Little Falls under NYSERDA’s Clean Energy Communities program, which provides no-match grant funding of up to $100,000 to a certain number of communities within each economic development region that fulfill certain High Impact Actions related to energy improvements. Members of the task force worked with representatives of the Clean Energy Communities program and the City of Little Falls to support the City’s efforts to take swift action on this funding opportunity. Task force members are also available to serve as “surge” staff and to help coordinate community outreach efforts as the City moves forward with its clean energy efforts.

As part of the City’s High Impact Actions, Little Falls will be pursuing DEC Climate Smart Communities certification, and the Clean Energy Task Force is working on educating Main Street First members and the larger community about this program. Task force members will also be available to the City to provide support and volunteers for any of the numerous initiatives required and recommended under the Climate Smart Communities program.

We are also exploring related sustainability initiatives that could be driven by Main Street First, and welcome new ideas and energy around these topics. If you have a passion for clean energy and sustainability, this is the committee for you! Drop us a line and let us know of your interest.

The Main Street First Website & Social Media committee is a collection of members who bring their skills in writing and content development, graphic design, photography, web development, and social media to help the organization connect with its members and the wider community.

We meet in person when needed and coordinate via email the rest of the time. Members work to promote Main Street First initiatives and events, as well as those of other organizations in and around Little Falls. We also share information about topics related to Main Street First’s purpose, such as economic and community development, revitalization, and sustainability.

If you have an interest in any of these areas and would like to lend your talents to Main Street First, please get in touch and let us know!

Complete Streets are streets designed to be safe and accessible for everyone, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Complete Streets make it easy and safe to cross the street, walk to shops, and bicycle to work.

Every community’s approach to Complete Streets is different. According to the National Complete Streets Coalition, “A complete street may include: sidewalks, bike lanes (or wide paved shoulders), special bus lanes, comfortable and accessible public transportation stops, frequent and safe crossing opportunities, median islands, accessible pedestrian signals, curb extensions, narrower travel lanes, roundabouts, and more.”

New York State passed the Complete Streets Act on August 15, 2011, requiring state, county, and local agencies to consider the convenience and mobility of all users when developing transportation projects that receive state and federal funding. With the encouragement and advocacy of a number of Main Street First members, the City of Little Falls adopted a Complete Streets policy in October 2014.

Members of MSF’s Complete Streets Committee work with the City and other resources and organizations to develop and implement a Complete Streets plan for the City of Little Falls. This includes pedestrian, wheelchair, and bike-friendly streets and sidewalks, placemaking, signage, and other fun topics that encourage active and safe use of our streets. If this sounds interesting to you, please join the conversation!