Has your local Main Street come back to life in recent years? Have new businesses and fun events drawn you to downtown lately? If so, then Main Street America could be at work in your community. A program of the National Main Street Center, Main Street America works to revitalize and restore downtown neighborhoods across the country, creating thriving, bustling places for people to live, work and enjoy.
As its name suggests, Main Street America celebrates the heart and soul of local communities. More than an address, Main Street is where people gather. It often brings together old buildings, new businesses and residents from all walks of life. For its part, Main Street America offers resources and expertise for local communities dedicated to revitalizing their downtown districts.
In this way, Main Street America leads local organizations across the country in their pursuit of downtown revitalization. Since 1980, more than 2,200 communities have used the signature Main Street Approach, which focuses on economic vitality, quality design, effective promotion and sustainable organization. These efforts in local communities across the country have generated $74.73 billion in reinvestment. Additionally, the work of Main Street America has contributed to a net gain in 614,716 jobs and 138,303 businesses since 1980.
These successes are more than numbers. Their real-world impact can be seen in communities like Natchitoches, Louisiana, which bounced back from a 60 percent downtown vacancy rate, and Washington, Missouri, which has added some 500 revitalized and restored buildings to the National Register of Historic Places. Through its unique approach and nationwide focus, Main Street America provides leadership and guidance to communities facing any type of challenge downtown.
For their part, local communities transform the Main Street Approach into strategies and tactics that will work for their neighborhoods. On this side of the equation, local Main Street organizations, such as downtown improvement districts, Local First groups and small business alliances, support business owners, advocate to local and state officials and engage with local residents. Using the Main Street Approach, local communities can find success through a nationwide network of resources and inspiration.
Downtown revitalization is a two-way street. Main Street America provides important leadership for local organizations that work hard to implement successful strategies in their communities. The result is a more vibrant and more meaningful place for the community to gather. For more information on Main Street America, visit www.mainstreet.org.
What does Main Street mean for your community? Celebrate your favorite Main Street group by submitting a nomination for the America’s Main Streets Contest. Visit www.mainstreetcontest.com for more information.