Established in 1980 as a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Main Street Center, Inc. works with a nationwide network of coordinating programs and local communities to encourage preservation-based community revitalization, and has equipped more than 2,000 older commercial districts with the skills, and organizing framework they need for renewal during its 35-year history. An exciting new chapter for the organization began on July 1, 2013, when the National Main Street Center launched as an independent subsidiary of the National Trust. This transition enables Main Street to build on its three-decade record of success, with new leadership and new resources that will help communities respond to evolving needs and opportunities in the commercial district revitalization field.
In 2015, the Center launched a new program brand for the network of Main Street programs—Main Street America™—to reinvigorate our collective look, feel, and strategy to position Main Street as a leader locally, regionally, and nationally.
As a nonprofit organization, the National Main Street Center provides information, offers technical assistance, holds conferences and workshops, and conducts research and advocacy on critical revitalization issues. The provenMain Street Four-Point Approach® provides a framework for communities to organize themselves for success, improve the design of their neighborhoods, promote their district, and enhance the economic base of a community.
Cumulatively, commercial districts taking part in the Main Street program have spurred the rehabilitation of more than 246,000 buildings, and generated $59.6 billion in new investment, with a net gain of more than 502,728 new jobs, and over 115,000 new businesses. Every dollar a community uses to support its local Main Street program leverages an average of $18 in new investment, making Main Street one of the most successful economic development strategies in America. These community benefits would not be possible without the training, education, and leadership of the National Main Street Center.
Main Street offers a revitalization framework appropriate for communities of all types—including commercial districts in urban neighborhoods, rural towns, and smaller and mid-sized cities. Local Main Street programs can be established either as freestanding organizations or as part of an existing entity, such as a community development corporation or economic development organization. Working in conjunction with a state, city or county-wide Main Street Coordinating Program, or directly with the National Main Street Center, local Main Street programs plan and implement projects that create more vibrant and healthy commercial districts.
The National Main Street Center is based in Chicago, Illinois, with an office in Washington, DC, and field staff located throughout the country. For more information, visit www.mainstreet.org. Follow us on Twitter @NatlMainStreet, and join us on Facebook.