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Wilton Main Street Association looks for future leaders of Main Street

  • —Courtesy photo

  • —Courtesy photo

  • —Courtesy photo

  • Wilton Main Street in 2003. —Courtesy photo

  • Wilton Main Street in 2003. —Courtesy photo

  • Wilton Main Street as it stands today, and below, over the years. Staff photo by Ashley Saari



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, October 10, 2018 10:27AM

The face of Wilton’s Main Street looks much different than it did 20 years ago, when the Wilton Main Street Association formed. The park at its center and the sidewalks and crosswalks that make it easier for pedestrian traffic, were all put into place with grant funds applied for by the Main Street Association.

“That was our crowning achievement,” Main Street Association president Alison Meltzer said in an interview Wednesday.

The Wilton Main Street Association was formed in the early 2000s. Until about 2013, the organization was able to afford a program manager who assisted with event planning and fundraising. Today, the board is all-volunteer, but still hosts several annual events, including the upcoming Haunting of Wilton, a Main Street trick-or-treat and house decorating contest. 

The Main Street Association gets some funding annually from the town, but the majority of its budget comes from The River Casino and Sports Bar in Nashua. By law in New Hampshire, 35 percent of casino profits must be donated to nonprofits and charities, and the Wilton Main Street Association gets a portion of 10 days of profits every year. 

“It’s been enough to keep us solvent,” Meltzer said.

The funds go toward putting on several annual events each year, including events for Halloween, a Luminaria during the winter, a Teddy Bear parade in the spring, and the Summerfest festival. 

The events are part of the Main Street Association’s mission to promote a climate in which the community can thrive. The height of Wilton’s business boom was back in the 1950s, Meltzer said, when the mills were still in operation, bringing patrons to local businesses, and before the re-routing of Route 101, which once went through the center of town.

Now, Meltzer said, fewer people know about the offerings of downtown Main Street, some of which have been staples of the street for decades, such as the Wilton Town Hall Theatre, Nelson’s Candy, Putnam’s Clothing Store and Elmer’s Barber Shop.

“We have some really unique, special shops on Main Street,” Meltzer said. “Though that’s also one of the issues we’re going to be facing, as the people who have been here for so long are getting to the point of retirement.”

The Main Street Association’s current goal, she said, is to see successors to those unique uses able to establish a firm foothold in the area. There have been recent openings that she said may fit the bill, including Frost This bakery, Pick-A-Dillys Pickens, and the continuation of the Riverview Artists Mill as a cultural hub.

“I think right now, we’re in a tenuous place, and that’s a concern,” Meltzer said. “But we still have these special shops which act as a draw and fill those special little niches.”

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.