At the heart of downtown Russellville, you’ll find The Russellville Train Depot. Passengers haven’t boarded a train here in more than 50 years, but the train conductor — in his sculpted metal immortality — still stands outside beckoning you to take a ride. Inside The Depot, along with layers of history, you’ll find Danielle Housenick, executive director of Main Street Russellville for a little over a month now.
Before becoming the ED of MSR, Danielle worked at Dog Ear Books, where she found her passion for revitalizing downtown. “I loved talking to people when they came in and sort of the whole vibe and culture downtown,” says Danielle. “That’s one of the things that I really want to nurture. I want to make sure our downtown reflects our culture.”
Danielle imagines a downtown that is filled with entertainment and family-friendly activities. Her plans for MSR are to create and promote more programs to accompany MSR’s already vibrant calendar of events like the free quarterly Downtown Art Walks, summer concerts, Fall Fest, and the upcoming Taste of the Valley on May 2. All of these have and will continue to play a central role in unifying the community and focusing attention on the still growing downtown Russellville economy. “The more that we do to make downtown amazing, it’s like everything just follows,” Danielle says. “It’s like a domino effect.”
All proceeds from MSR fundraising events help pay for free events like Music Downtown at Sundown. Fundraisers also help MSR to provide revitalization grants for downtown businesses.
MSR isn’t just Danielle, though. Volunteers are vital for any event. Though, the volunteer pool runs deep, MSR’s 10-member board of directors tends to shoulder most of the load. The board is active through fundraising, promoting the organization, and sometimes even taking a more day-to-day role within MSR.
All of this activity is working toward the goal of increasing local shopping, which injects more money back into the community. MSR’s philosophy is inspired by ideas like the 3/50 Project, an awareness program designed to promote shopping at local brick and mortar businesses through educating consumers on how vital these businesses are to local economies. According to the 3/50 Project, for every $100 spent in independently owned stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures.
Although The Depot is owned by the City of Russellville, MSR works with the city to rent out the space for events such as birthday parties, baby showers, and business meetings. To rent space at the depot, you can message Main Street Russellville on Facebook, through their website or by calling. The Depot also regularly fundraises, selling bricks and children’s train books throughout the year.
MSR is open from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 301 W. C St. You can contact them by calling 479-967-1437 or by mail at email@example.com. The website can be found at mainstreetrussellville.com.