30 Years and Growing

It's a wonderful coincidence that 2022 marks not one, not two, but three, significant anniversaries in Orange: the first being the Town's 150th anniversary of incorporation, the second being the 25th anniversary of the remarkable Arts Center in Orange, and the third being the 30th anniversary of our Main Street program!

As I was looking through files related to the birth of this organization, I was struck by the incredible vision of those 11 founders -- T. Wayne Satchell, H. F. Lawton, Frank A. Thomas, L. M. Garnett, Deborah K. Ketz, Rodney M. Sedwick, Lester P. Williams, Mary Glenn Carrington, William Morris, Judy Carter and William P. Chewning. In 1992, they recognized the power of preservation-based economic development, community engagement and placemaking, and adopted the Main Street "Movement" (as it was called in those days) to facilitate economic vitality for the Town of Orange.

Fast forward thirty years, and our Main Street program is going strong! ODA, now doing business as LOVEOrangeVirginia, has made significant advances, especially since our reboot in 2019. Here are a few:

· Continued accreditation as an "Advancing Main Street" program by the State coordinating program

· Continued national accreditation as a Main Street America program

· Recipients of two Virginia Main Street/Department of Housing and Community Development Downtown Investment Grants focused on improving the streetscape aesthetics and placemaking assets of the Main Street District

· Recipient of a Virginia Main Street/Department of Housing and Community Development Financial Feasibility Grant focused on uplifting the economic vitality of the Main Street District through property improvement

· Recipient of a Virginia Main Street grant during COVID which we converted into a local grant program to help our retail businesses and restaurants

· Recipient of an Orange County "Bounce Back Orange" grant that also supported our efforts to help businesses within the Main Street District weather the effects of the pandemic

· Recipient of a CARES Act grant from the Town of Orange to further support our economic vitality efforts on behalf of small businesses during COVID

· Recipient of a private grant to fund our share of the Retail Study partnership with Orange County Economic Development

· Recipient of two Dominion Energy Foundation grants to support our promotional programming and COVID recovery

· Selection by Virginia Main Street as a "Regional Rev Up" site for professional development training of Main Street managers

· Selection by National Main Street as a "Mobile Tour" site for the upcoming 2022 National Main Street NOW Conference, being held May 16 - 18 in Richmond

Funds (over $100,000), focus (site selections) and forward progress (Retail Study) -- all geared toward economic vitality and strengthening community through Main Street!

To do this work, we've assembled an "A" Team of devoted Board and Committee volunteers. These folks bring an astonishing array of skill sets and talent to the Main Street "Approach" (as it now is called). Take a look at the result of their efforts.

Compiled by Virginia Main Street, the "Orange 2021 Cumulative Statistics" showcases the success of your Main Street team:

· Jobs created, retained and expanded

· Physical improvements, both public and private

· Five-year leveraging of program funding

· Value of volunteers reflecting service to the community

Each category demonstrates a win for our businesses, our supporters and our Town!

Now, on to the next 30 years...

Charlotte Cole, Executive Director

Support Your Main Street Program

Why? It's pretty straight forward. We need your financial help to continue building on the progress you just read about. Jobs, business retention and recruitment, streetscape improvements, events and activities, placemaking spaces. It's an investment in our community's future.

Our new Supporter Campaign is a "one size fits all" program. We're asking you to make a $50.00 donation to support our work. That's right, $50.00 from businesses, no matter the size, and the same from individuals and other community organizations who recognize the value of Main Street. We believe that this "power of many" program is a prudent approach to funding our work, and we ask you to consider helping us!

You can become a Supporter securely online by clicking here. Or, if you prefer donating by check, you can mail it to: ODA/LOVe P.O. Box 283, Orange, VA 22960.

Each contribution is tax deductible to the extent provided by law, and we provide an acknowledgement stating that you have received no goods or services in exchange for your contribution. The Orange Downtown Alliance, Inc.d/b/a LOVEOrangeVirginia is recognized as exempt under section 501 (c)(03) of the Internal Revenue Code.

From all of us at ODA/LOVe, thank you!


Spring Events and Activities

Virginia Tourism Orientation Program 2022

VTC Orientation offers new information, resources and best practices

· Get a brief overview and update from each VTC Division

· Receive timely ‘Action Items’ to help strategize and plan leveraging VTC resources

· Benefit from industry partners’ Success Stories to hear best practices and ROIs

VTC Orientation sessions have received highly favorable reviews from surveys for past sessions!

Who will Benefit from Participating?

VTC Orientation is a must for Virginia DMOs, tourism-related business owners, tourism marketers and representatives from Virginia attractions, restaurants, events, retail, and lodging establishments.

Date: Tuesday, May 10 - Thursday, May 12

Time: 9 am - noon each day

Registration for this Orientation will open on Friday, April 1. There is no cost to participate.

Contact VTC’s Judy Watkins for orientation questions: jwatkins@virginia.org or call



And Last, but not Least...

Here's a quick rundown of the tasks on which our team currently is working --

Design -- In addition to our seasonal plantings throughout the Town of Orange, and working with the Orange County African American Historical Society on completion of the commemorative park at the corner of Church and Chapman Streets, we're working with members of the Dolley Madison Garden Club on additional streetscape projects, including more "garden spots" and the development of a "walking trail" through Town.

Economic Vitality -- Our committee continues to focus its work on selected recommendations from last year's Retail Study. Wayfinding is one of those focus areas, and we're looking at options to help both visitors and residents locate restaurants, shops and services more clearly and easily.

Promotion -- We have a great line-up of seasonal fun in the making! Beginning April 23 with Earth Day and Historic Garden Week, and running through December 3 with the Gingerbread Walk and our seasonal "Orange is Central Virginia's Holiday Village" campaign. In between, we'll be working with our partners at the Arts Center in Orange on several cultural projects, and shortly, we'll be announcing a brand new, blockbuster fest!

Organization -- The executive team has been working to strengthen our Board and Committee structure, getting our policies and procedures up to date, and preparing for the launch of our Supporter campaign.

Want to be a part of our team? Email us at odaexecd@gmail.com or call 540.672.2540!