Over the past 34 years, the Main Street movement has transformed the way communities think about the revitalization of their historic downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts, and helped put historic preservation back in the community revitalization conversation. Cities and towns across the nation have come to see that a vibrant, sustainable community is only as healthy as its core.
Why Main Streets Matter
Most people know where their Main Streets are but do they know what they are? Why they matter? Main Streets are the traditional center – the HUB - for social, cultural, and economic activity for their communities. Main Streets speak to who the community is, who communities were and how the past has shaped each one’s unique development. People don’t go to bland suburbs or enclosed shopping malls to learn about their past, explore culture, or discover their identity. Main Streets are the places of shared memory where an entire community comes together to live, work, and play.
To be sure - the phrase Main Street has been used to describe everything from the nostalgic past to current economic woes. When Main Street Alabama talks about Main Street® however, it is thinking of REAL ALABAMA places doing REAL work to revitalize REAL ALABAMA communities and preserve their character. Simply put - Main Streetc is three things: a proven strategy for revitalization, a powerful network of linked communities, and a national support program that leads the field.
1. A Proven Strategy: The Main Street Four-Point Approach®
The Main Street Four-Point Approach® is a unique preservation-based organizing framework that enables communities to revitalize downtown and neighborhood business districts by leveraging local assets - from historic, cultural, and architectural resources to local enterprises and community pride. It is a comprehensive strategy that addresses the variety of issues and problems that challenge traditional commercial districts.
2. A Powerful Network: The Main Street Approach in Action
Main Street is a national movement that has spanned three decades and taken root in more than 2,000 communities - a movement that has spurred $56 billion in reinvestment in traditional commercial districts, galvanized thousands of volunteers, and changed the way governments, planners, and developers view preservation. Over the past 34 years, the National Main Street Center has overseen the development of a national network of 46 coordinating programs. These coordinating programs help cities, towns, and villages revitalize their downtown and neighborhood business districts. Coordinating program staff help build the capacity of local Main Street programs, expand the network of Main Street communities, provide resources and technical assistance, and work with the NMSC to explore new solutions to revitalization challenges and respond to emerging trends throughout the nation.
3. State Leadership for the Movement: Main Street Alabama
Main Street Alabama supports Designated Main Street Communities and bolster their efforts by providing valuable technical assistance, networking opportunities, resources and training opportunities for local programs.
How to implement the approach in your community