Charlevoix’s Junior Main Street program is reshaping downtown

ByShannon J. Cortes

Nov 17, 2021

Since the start of the Charlevoix Junior Mainstreet program six years ago, high school students have carried out numerous projects.

This includes a visitor app, hammock park and downtown beautification.

“I hate to say that it’s easier to do these kinds of projects because the students are involved, but it’s absolutely true,” said Lindsey Dotson, director of the Charlevoix Downtown Development Authority. “I am the talking head. I’m the person they hear all the time, but when a student steps on the podium at a public meeting, everyone straightens up and starts listening.

Some of their projects included Hoopskirt Alley, which was recognized for the hard work students put into it.

Program president and sophomore at Charlevoix High School, Liam Dreyer, said it was one of their greatest accomplishments.

“We took a fairly banal, orderly alley, and we put lights there, we put a chessboard there and every time I pass by there in the summer it looks like someone is playing on the chessboard or someone’s having fun in this alley,” Dreyer said.

Hoop Skirt AlleyCompleting these kinds of projects will give students a sense of pride in their community, knowing the legacy they will leave behind.

“So when we come back after graduating from high school, we went to college, we found a husband or wife and want to have kids somewhere, imagine what it’s going to be like if we decide to come to Charlevoix if we decide to be here and see the projects we started in grade 10, 11, 12,” Dreyer said.

Currently, the team of high school students is working to obtain tents and warming stations for downtown Charlevoix during the winter months.