Main Street Program
Waxahachie is a certified Texas Main Street community. The city applied for and received Main Street designation in 1983 and participated in the program until 1990. In 2002, the city became re-certified as a Texas Main Street city. Since that time, Waxahachie has been recognized as a National Main Street City seven years out of the eight they were eligible to receive that distinction.
The Main Street Program is a comprehensive program of economic development within the context of historic preservation. Since 2007, over $6 million in private sector reinvestment projects have been completed in the Main Street Area. These include rehabilitation projects, new construction and property sold. During this same period, over $68 million in public projects were completed, including the new Ellis County Courts Building, City Parking Garage and MKT Depot Restoration. This development resulted in 53 new jobs in the central business district.
There are four points to the Main Street approach for commercial district revitalization. Those points are organization, promotion, design, and economic restructuring. Waxahachie’s Main Street program has four boards that carry out the functions of the four points.
Waxahachie Partnership, Inc. is a 501(c)3 and is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Downtown Master Plan that was developed in 2001. The board meets monthly and it is a recommending body to the TIRZ (Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone) board. Some projects that WPI has completed are construction of the Downtown Pocket Park, ADA sidewalk improvements, brick street pavers, antique lighting around the square and historic street signage.
The Waxahachie Downtown Merchants Association promotes downtown through its programs of work and sponsorship and support of events that are held in the downtown area. Membership is not limited to downtown merchants—anyone who has a heart for downtown is welcome to join. Projects of the Downtown Merchants Association include the purchase of benches, tables, trash cans, and a synthetic ice rink that is used for the holiday activities. The WDMA also supports and sponsors the Downtown Mardi Gras, Texas Country Reporter Festival, Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, and many other events.
Waxahachie Heritage Preservation Commission is charged with protecting the integrity of the historic structures in Waxahachie. Commercial and residential property owners within the Historic Overlay District must conform to the design guidelines for this area when rehabbing or making changes to their properties. These property owners may also qualify for certain tax exemptions and incentive programs. The HPC uses these valuable tools to help preserve the historic integrity of structures within the Historic Overlay District. This seven-member board meets monthly and is appointed by the City Council. Non-voting members of the Commission include a Heritage Preservation Officer, Planning and Zoning Commission liaison, and City Council liaison. Projects the HPC has participated in include the design of the new County buildings and the creation of an historic property coloring book that is distributed yearly to all second graders in the Waxahachie Independent School District.
The Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) board oversees the economic restructuring area of the Main Street four point approach. The TIRZ is a geographic area that was established in 2003 which includes the central business district. Incremental ad valorem tax increases on properties in the TIRZ area since 2003 are used to fund projects in the Downtown Master Plan. The board of seven members is a recommending body to the City Council. In recent years, TIRZ funds have been the primary source of funding to save the historic Texas Theater and restore the MKT Train depot.