Main Street Approach

About Main Street

The Main Street Program is a national program that works to revitalize historic downtowns. The National Trust for Historic Preservation created the Main Street Program in 1977 in reaction to economic decline and threats to traditional architecture in core commercial districts.

To revitalize downtown areas and combat discouraging development trends, the Four-Point approach was developed: Organization, Promotions, Economic Restructuring, and Design.

Organization builds consensus and cooperation among community groups and organizations, manages and recruits volunteers, fundraises and creates public awareness of the Program.

Promotion is defined as selling and marketing the image and prospects of the downtown’s unique social, economic, and cultural character.

Economic Restructuring focuses on strengthening and broadening the existing economic base of the downtown.

Design works to make visual improvements of the downtown through good design compatible with historic features.

The Main Street Program is community driven and works to bring out the unique qualities that local business districts can offer. The Program provides a comprehensive, grass-roots model for economic revitalization of historic downtowns and commercial districts by using historic preservation tools. By focusing on the distinct architecture, personal service, local ownership, and sense of community in downtowns, the Program aims to create a friendly environment that supports economic growth. The National Main Street Program has developed the Four- Point approach as a proven method in reaching these desired goals.

Communities that have developed this approach in their own business districts on average have had a reinvestment rate of $40.35 for every one-dollar spent. For more information you can visit the website of the National Main Street Program.