In 1980, the Georgia Main Street Program represented an innovative idea: Five local communities joined the National Main Street Center’s pilot program to test a new approach to downtown revitalization. Nearly 40 years later, Georgia Main Street now serves more than 100 communities across the Peach State, with some of the most successful local affiliates across the country. By taking a thoughtful approach to economic development and building on early success, the Georgia Main Street Program has fostered a growing network of strong communities.
The National Main Street Center’s signature approach focuses on four points: economic vitality, organization, design and promotion. The Georgia Main Street Program’s local affiliates have employed this approach to restore historic buildings, attract new investment, create walkable town centers and expand existing businesses. Along the way, the state-supported program has worked to support its local communities in their ongoing efforts and encourage new communities to take up the charge.
This network-building activity has had profound effects on the state’s economy. Each year, Georgia on average adds 4,000 new jobs, 800 new businesses, 260 new housing units and $250 million in public and private investment thanks to the work of its Main Street Program. These numbers aren’t just impressive benchmarks for the state. They’re also striking on the national scale: Georgia’s local job creation represents 13 percent of the net job creation nationwide, as measured by the National Main Street Center.
What’s more, the Georgia Main Street Program has set its communities and its state up for future growth. By continuing to grow its network, the program can transform even more downtown districts and local economies. To do this, the program uses informative training practices and offers convenient services for local communities. Main Street 101 provides an online, interactive guide to the Four-Point Approach, helping new communities on-board quickly. Meanwhile, the program’s Design Services help communities reimagine their spaces through architectural design, site design and downtown improvement plans.
As one of the first organizations of its kind, the Georgia Main Street Program has nearly four decades of experience with downtown revitalization. In that time, the program has grown its network from five participating communities to more than 100. As that network expands, the program creates new opportunities for Georgia workers, business owners, travelers and residents.
For more information about the Georgia Main Street Program, visit www.georgiamainstreet.org.