The MMSA Design Committee

For Exact Meeting Times, Days and Location, Please Contact the Merced Chamber Office at 209.384.7092
Committee Chair: Tom Leach

The Design Committee plays a key role in shaping the physical image of Main Street as a place attractive to shoppers, investors, business owners, and visitors. Design means getting Main Street into top physical shape. Capitalizing on its best assets — such as historic buildings and pedestrian-oriented streets — is just part of the story. Main Street’s physical appearance affects the decisions shoppers, investors and visitors make about the district. A commercial district’s design should make economic sense as well as aesthetic sense. Design improvements can result in a sales increase, making good design a sound business investment. An inviting atmosphere created through attractive window displays, parking areas, building improvements, signs, sidewalks, street lights, and landscaping, convey a positive visual message about the commercial district and what it has to offer. Design activities also include instilling good maintenance practices in the commercial district, enhancing the physical appearance of the commercial district by rehabilitating historic buildings, encouraging appropriate new construction, developing sensitive design management systems, and long-term planning. To succeed, the committee must persuade independent business and property owners and civic leaders to adopt a specific approach –and an ambitious agenda—for physical improvements to buildings, businesses and public improvements by:

  • Educating others about good design—enhancing the image of each business, as well as, that of the district
  • Providing good design advice and encouraging quality improvements to private properties and public spaces
  • Planning Main Street’s development, thus guiding future growth and shaping regulations
  • Motivating others to make changes—creating incentives and targeting key projects

Much of this work occurs in partnership with one-on-one relationships with members of the downtown community, property owners, business managers, city staff, and elected officials.