Laredo Main Street works to preserve the downtown heritage by fostering community pride and involvement, stimulating diverse businesses and residential development using the Texas Main Street Four Point Approach: Organization, Promotion, Economic Restructuring and Design. Laredo Main Street is a non-profit organization dedicated to the economic diversification of downtown Laredo and surrounding neighborhoods while preserving its historic heritage.
It is our commitment to enhance the vibrant, multicultural community of our historic downtown and to diversify the economic base of the central business district within the framework of our historic preservation
Laredo Main Street, a Brief History
Laredo Main Street, was founded in 1998, its intent: 1.) to promote improvements, maintenance and security for the historic downtown of Laredo, TX; 2.) to protect and enhance the value and usage of downtown properties; 3.) to encourage and assist private-public developments in the downtown area; and 4.) to promote while enhancing business and economic opportunities.
Our first task was clear: advocate for infrastructure improvements through an awareness and promotion campaign. Advocacy became Action when we hosted our first festival in 1997, closing one block to through traffic for one evening and offering free entrance to food booths, drinks, and local music groups. The Jamboozie Festival was born. Approximately 1800 people attended, loved being downtown, and clamored for more events like these. Since then there have been nineteen festivals, each more successful than the previous. More and more people are asking that downtown Laredo be rehabilitated, conserved and redeveloped.
Invigorated by its Jamboozie successes, the Organization met and acknowledged having met the first goal of awareness and promotion, a success that was actually recognized at the state level. In October 2007, we were designated a 2008 Texas Main Street Urban City by the Texas Historical Commission’s Community Heritage Development Division. This program helps Texas cities revitalize their historic downtown's and neighborhood commercial districts by utilizing a four point approach of Organization, Design, Economic Vitality and Promotion.
Laredo Main Street (LMS) is completing its 10th year in the program and has significantly expanded its reach, adding the monthly El Centro de Laredo Farmers Market in 2010 and in 2015 the quarterly Artisan Bazaar to its list of programs. In recent years, LMS has also taken the role of advocate most seriously, collaborating with both local government leaders and community on such impressive advances as the Urban Agriculture Ordinance as well as ordinances governing Street Musicians and Public Art; working w/the City of Laredo on an equally significant initiative, the Façade Improvement Grant program which is helping downtown merchants improve the façade of their storefronts by providing $15,000-$25,000 grants; the Canseco Home Project, a model for Community Supported Agriculture; partnering with Councilman Roberto Balli on his Food Desert Committee, designed to address the critical food scarcity problem in downtown Laredo; development of the downtown Arts and Entertainment District. Currently, LMS Board and Staff are also collaborating with city leadership in developing a marketing outreach plan to attract visitors to the recently opened Outlet Shoppes Mall to the downtown district. It also is an active participant in the City of Laredo’s Plan Viva Laredo, the comprehensive plan which offers much support for the downtown Laredo community. And planned for FY 2017-2018, Laredo, City of Saints and Generals, a 6- lecture series, that will showcase twelve historic downtown streets named by Tomas Sanchez, the City’s founder, after renowned saints and generals. The program’s venue, the equally historic La Posada Hotel. It is continuous advocacy efforts such as these on behalf of downtown Laredo that has earned Laredo Main Street continuing recognition as a National Main Street City since 2012.
Laredo Main Street is accredited by Main Street America and Texas Main Street. To learn more about the Main Street program, please visit the Texas Historical Commission's website.
Board Members & Staff
Board President - Melissa Amici Haynes
Vice President - Enrique Lobo
Treasurer - Rafael I. Torres
Secretary - Sandy Esparza
Hector “Tito” Garcia
Frank M. Rotnofsky
Cynthia M. Snyder
Executive Director: Sylvia Bruni
Assistant Director: Alejandra Pena
Administrative Assistant: Stephen Gutierrez