BC in the News: ABC Recognized

Action Brown County Recognized for Outstanding Revitalization Efforts at Illinois Main Street Conference


Pictured: Kevin Beck, Representative, Office of Lt. Governor Stratton; Alex Geisler, Executive Director, Action Brown County; Joi Austin, Sr. Program Officer for Economic Vitality, Main Street America

Mt. Sterling, IL [October 21, 2022] Action Brown County is pleased to announce being awarded The Lieutenant Governor Award for Economic Vitality recognizing the revitalization  and relocation of their annual signature events (Winter Festival and Farmers Market).  

The Lieutenant Governor Award for Excellence in Revitalization is one of the most notable recognitions for Illinois Main Street communities to achieve for their work in bringing economic prosperity to their communities. Work highlights projects, activities and events focused around The Main Street Approach™ (Design, Organization, Economic Vitality and Promotion), as well as outstanding volunteers and board members. 

“Revitalization is about using talent, resources, new ideas, and paths of collaboration for positive change,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “I am so proud of this year’s award recipients for their amazing work strengthening Main Street communities after the challenges caused by the pandemic. Because of their efforts, our main streets will continue to provide goods, services, economic opportunities, and jobs that build purpose and a sense of community throughout Illinois.”

On Wednesday, October 19, the office of Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton and Joi Cuartero Austin, Sr. Program Officer for Economic Vitality at Main Street America, gave out fourteen (14) awards. Ten (10) recognitions for program efforts, two (2) for outstanding volunteers and one each for Board Member and Volunteer of the Year. Awards were announced by Jim Miller, new State Coordinator for Illinois Main Street and Quinn Adamowski, Regional Advocacy Manager for Landmarks Illinois.

Full list of recognitions as follows (details can be found on Illinois Main Street website): 
Awards for Design

  • Downtown Springfield Inc. | Springfield, IL – Monroe Street Art
  • Six Corners Association | Chicago, IL – Community Mural Project
  • Alton Main Street | Alton, IL – Untold Black Stories of Alton

Awards for Economic Vitality

  • Discover Dixon | Dixon, IL – Economic Enhancement Initiative
  • Action Brown County | Mt. Sterling, IL – Revitalization & Relocation of Annual Events

Awards for Organization

  • Jacksonville Main Street | Jacksonville, IL – 2021 Illinois Main Street Conference
  • Sterling Main Street | Sterling, IL – The Keystone Group
  • Calumet Area Industrial Commission | Chicago, IL – Pullman/Roseland Neighborhood History Bike Ride

Awards for Promotion

  • Austin African American Business Networking Association | Chicago, IL – Our Past Shapes Our Future Black History Month Campaign
  • Downtown Pontiac | Pontiac, IL – A Hometown Holiday

Outstanding Volunteers

  • MainStreet Libertyville – Maureen Hunt
  • Waukegan Main Street – Jay Stephen

Volunteer of the Year

  • Downtown Bloomington – Bonnie Brown

Board Member of the Year

  • Batavia MainStreet – Bob Hansen

“Year round, Illinois Main Street organizations work hard helping businesses and property owners, while bringing residents and guests to the heart of their communities,” said Joi Cuartero Austin, Sr. Program Officer for Economic Vitality at Main Street America. “We are grateful for the opportunity to recognize a reflection of work being done by people for their communities across the state.

“We are thrilled to be recognized by the Illinois Main Street organization and Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton for our efforts to inspire community, celebrate Hornet spirit, and promote economic growth throughout Brown County” states ABC Executive Director, Alex Geisler. “While the revitalization and relocation of our annual signature events had its’ challenges, we are ecstatic to now have them housed in our uptown district.  Our intent is to continue adding activities and features to these events, ensuring they grow and attendees receive a premiere holiday experience.  Our annual events this year have proved that Brown County residents are more than willing to support their neighbors and friends as small town business owners.” 

The Illinois Main Street Conference is hosted in partnership with the Chicago Main Street program, the office of Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Landmarks Illinois and the City of Bloomington.

All projects, activities, or events submitted for recognition/nomination must have been completed in 2021 through June 30, 2022. Volunteer nominations reflect an amalgamation of work done with the Main Street organization and community. 

Learn more about Illinois Main Street at ilmainstreet.org. Keep up with Illinois Main Street and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, or sign up for our email newsletter.



Action Brown County is a non-profit organization located in Mt. Sterling that works to promote the community and homegrown economic development throughout the county, through shop local campaigns, community events, economic development initiatives and the Brown County Business Start-Up Competition.  Learn more at actionbrowncounty.org


Illinois Main Street supports a network of communities across the state that are working to bring prosperity to their older and historic downtowns and commercial districts. IMS does this by providing hands-on training, statewide workshops, networking opportunities, and other resources. Illinois Main Street programs have collectively secured nearly $1.2 billion in public and private reinvestment, added over 11,000 jobs, created over 2,300 new businesses, and rehabilitated 1100 buildings since 1992. Illinois Main Street is administered by Main Street America, a national movement of neighborhoods and communities who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Learn more at ilmainstreet.org