PLACES 2025 | Host Community Proposal

We are delighted to announce that we are seeking proposals from communities wishing to host our 2025 PLACES conference. PLACES brings together leading scholars, practitioners, and volunteers dedicated to revitalizing Main Street, preserving historic properties, and protecting cultural resources.

Our vision for PLACES includes unique venues, interactive workshops, and many opportunities for attendees to network and engage in the local community. Because the content is place-based, by nature, the host community is much more than just a facility; your organization would be an integral partner in planning a rich and dynamic experience for conference-goers and visitors to your downtown!

The conference aims to generate a significant economic impact for the host community and region. A conservative estimate (based on known expenses and a minimum estimated spending per attendee) of the impact of PLACES 2023 on the host community was nearly $204,779. As PLACES continues to draw more interest (we had 347 attendees in 2023!), there are increasing opportunities to both grow the conference and offer more diverse and engaging experiences for attendees.

If any of these topics spark your creativity, we encourage you to share your ideas within this proposal. Learn more about hosting a successful PLACES conference below, or jump to key sections:

Conference Overview | Requirements & Responsibilities | Selection & Submission

Want to chat through your ideas before applying? Set up office hours with Lydia Felty, Main Street Specialist, here.


Conference Overview

What is PLACES?

PLACES is Washington’s annual statewide conference focused on the continued care of place through historic preservation, placemaking, and economic development. Drawing approximately 300 participants from throughout the Pacific Northwest, this conference is hosted by the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation (WTHP) in partnership with the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP).

The conference provides educational sessions, tours, networking events, and the presentation of Washington’s annual Excellence on Main Awards. It is designed to educate on issues affecting Main Street districts, the preservation of historic places, and cultural resource protection practices; highlight existing preservation and revitalization efforts; and help communities plan for the future.

The conference is generally held during October. Priority consideration will be given those cities able to accommodate the preferred date patterns. Preferred conference dates for 2025 are October X-X.

Tentative PLACES 2025 Schedule

Pre-Conference (Tuesday)

  • Networking functions

Day One (Wednesday)

  • Educational Sessions
  • Tours
  • Opening Plenary and Keynote Address
  • Opening Reception

Day Two (Thursday)

  • Educational Sessions
  • Tours
  • Excellence on Main Award Reception

Day Three (Friday AM)

  • Educational Sessions
  • Tours
  • Closing Plenary

For a general example of the conference flow, check out last year’s conference program.


Requirements & Responsibilities

The Host Community will work closely with Washington Trust for Historic Preservation (WTHP) staff to ensure a successful conference. In addition, the Host Community also commits to important regional and financial support. Further, the Host Community will work to suggest local hotel and conference facilities. These commitments are further detailed below.

Host Community Requirements & Responsibilities

The Host Community must be a designated Washington Main Street Community in good standing. Responsibilities include the following:

  • Appoint a primary point of contact to serve as a liaison between the WTHP and all local resources.
  • Appoint two representatives (preferably one staff and one board member) to serve on monthly conference planning committee calls.
  • Assist with plans and logistics for tours of the community and region.
  • Recruit 10-15 local volunteers to assist with tasks such as registration and tour dispatching.
  • Local governing body must provide a Letter of Support for hosting the conference. A pledged commitment in the form of sponsorship or in-kind donation by local governing body is not required, although favorable.
  • Provide list of local groups who could benefit from attendance at the conference and help promote the conference throughout the community and state in conjunction with WTHP. This should include strategy around reaching underserved community members and diverse local partners.
  • Secure local sponsorships for the conference; the host organization is held to a minimum fundraising amount of $15,000.
    • Recognizing that the cost of living differs greatly throughout the state, this amount may include cash and/or in-kind donations for all conference activities, including the Excellence on Main Awards Reception, refreshment breaks, and conference facilities. The level of local support for this event, including financial sponsorship, is an important factor in the site selection decision.
  • Must have local downtown and/or neighborhood development success stories that offer opportunities for tours and on-site workshops.
  • The community should have a strong historic preservation ethic. The city and region should be able to illustrate the Main Street Approach at work and demonstrate an interest and commitment to preserving heritage resources. This should include challenges, both successes and failures, and benefits to the community at large.
  • The organization should have a strong commitment to building equity within their community and an understanding of inclusive downtown development practices.

Prepare for proposal: To demonstrate these requirements in your application, you will be asked to provide (1) a cover letter from Main Street board president, (2) letter of support from local governing body, (3) two letters of support from partner organizations, and (4) sponsor commitments documented in writing.

Hotel Requirements

The Host Community will assist in identifying hotel facilities that meet that following requirements:

  • One or more hotel facilities providing a minimum of 250 guest rooms for three nights for conference attendees.
  • Nightly room rates at the conference hotel should make available federal/state per diem rates.
  • Hotel facilities should be within easy access of the conference facilities and preferably be located in or near the downtown district.

Prepare for proposal: To demonstrate these requirements in your application, you will be asked to provide a list of one or more hotel facilities providing a minimum of 250 total guestrooms for three nights.

Facility Requirements

All conference facilities must be centered in the downtown area. The Host Community will assist in identifying conference facilities that meet the following requirements:

  • Central area to accommodate registration and coffee breaks.
  • Opening Plenary: Space must be capable of accommodating 350 attendees seated theater style.
  • Concurrent breakout sessions: Four spaces capable of accommodating 100 persons each and able to accommodate audio-visual presentations. Seating layout for breakouts has typically been set in theater, classroom, or partial rounds, but new and dynamic arrangement suggestions are welcome. If more than one space is used, the facilities must be within reasonable walking distance (5 minutes) of one another.
  • The Opening Reception: A site in the downtown area that will accommodate up to 250 persons for a cocktail hour and have space for a program.
  • The Excellence on Main Awards reception: A site in the downtown area that will accommodate up to 200 persons for a cocktail hour and have space for a program.

Prepare for proposal: To demonstrate these requirements in your application, you will be asked to provide (1) a map of the district with all proposed conference sites noted, (2) floorplan(s) of the conference facilities, (3) brochures/menus from proposed event venues, and (4) up to 10 total images of facilities and other highlighted sites.

WTHP Responsibilities

  • Work with local stakeholders to develop the conference theme, agenda, and programming.
  • Manage conference planning and logistics, including management of the budget, overall conference schedule, workshops, tours, silent auction, receptions, catering, and registration.
  • Send out promotional and registration materials for the conference.
  • Provide programs, name tags, handouts and other materials for the conference.
  • Handle all finances and make final decisions and arrangements pertaining to hotels or lodging, caterers, and other vendors.
  • Work with the local host and stakeholder groups to identify potential conference sponsors and brainstorm fundraising ideas.

Proposal Selection & Submission

Selection Process

The Host Community will be chosen by the PLACES Planning Committee, consisting of members of the WTHP staff and DAHP staff. The PLACES Planning Committee…

  • May elect to conduct site visits, or elect not to conduct site visits, with any of the proposed cities.
  • Reserves the right to accept or reject any and all proposals which may be submitted in response to or as a result of the request for proposals.
  • Reserves the right to negotiate more specific terms with any potential service provider that may clarify, supplement or vary the terms of the service provider’s original proposal.
  • Will determine all conference facilities.
  • Reserves the right to negotiate with the selected facilities concerning format and schedule changes.
  • Further reserves the right to enter into a contract for the year 2025, or to decline to enter into a contract.

Submission Requirements

All proposals and supporting materials must be received by email by 5:00 PM on Sunday, August 30, 2024. Incomplete proposals will not be considered.

Application Materials Checklist

To be considered complete, your final proposal must include:

  • Host Community Proposal and Budget Worksheet form
  • Cover letter from Main Street board president outlining organization’s commitment to hosting a successful PLACES conference
  • Letter of support from local governing body
  • 2 letters of support from partner organizations
  • Map of district with all proposed conference sites noted
  • Conference facility floorplan(s)
  • Sponsor commitments documented in writing
  • Up to 10 total images of facilities and other highlighted sites
  • Brochures/menus from proposed event venues

All supporting materials must be uploaded into a Dropbox folder (or other free file-sharing service). Supporting material files must be clearly labeled (e.g., an image file labeled “Main Street Theater: Proposed site for Excellence on Main”). Email folder links to ly***@pr********.org.

Timeline

Proposal Deadline

August 30, 2024 by 5:00 PM

Site Visits (as needed)

September 1-30, 2024

Notification to Applicants

September 30, 2024

Ready to Submit?

Please download the Host Community Proposal & Budget Worksheet to begin your application. We look forward to reading your proposal and supporting materials!

Want to chat through your ideas before applying? Set up office hours with Lydia Felty, Main Street Specialist, here.


Banner photos courtesy of Visit Walla Walla