Benicia Main Street is a quarterfinalist in Independent We Stand’s “America’s Main Streets” contest, and needs public votes to progress to the top, said Deborah Housman, event manager.


Independent We Stand is a national small business movement, and is offering a $25,000 grand prize to the winner. Benicia Main Street would use the money as grant-matching funds to make its building, the Southern Pacific Depot at 90 First St., accessible to the disabled. This would provide access to nearly 1,000 square feet of underused space for historic displays and an art gallery, Housman said.


President of the Benicia Main Street Board of Directors, Mike Caplin said, “I was delighted to be informed this morning by Nancy Martinez, our executive director, that BMS has again reached the quarterfinals in the national America’s Main Streets Contest. We ask all of you to please continue to vote daily for Benicia Main Street to recognize the wonderful work that the organization does for our community.”


Voting began April 29 at, and continues through May 26. Voters can cast ballots online at Benicia Main Street is one of 232 Main Street organizations originally entered in the contest, and faces 24 rivals in this phase. It is the sole remaining California representative.


The top 10 semifinalists will be announced May 27, and the winner will be announced June 3. The winner will announce how the prize will be spent during a “Main Streets Make Us Better” celebration July 4.


Other contest prizes are $1,000 worth of outdoor power equipment from STIHL, founding sponsor of Independent We Stand and presenting sponsor of the America’s Main Streets contest; $500 shopping sprees at Do It Best Corp.; Nationwide Marketing Group and PPG Paints; a free one-day Downtown Assessment from “Flip This Town,” public relations and social media recognition, and a winner’s plaque.