Types of Coordinating Programs

Statewide Main Street Coordinating Programs

Statewide Main Street coordinating programs help cities, towns, and villages revitalize their downtown and neighborhood business districts. Statewide Main Street programs support local Main Street programs by:

  • creating economic development tools and resources that serve the state's specific economic conditions; 
  • competitively selecting communities with traditional commercial districts to participate in the state network;
  • providing an appropriate scope of technical assistance to participating local Main Street programs;
  • providing networking, advocacy, and encouragement to participating local Main Street programs;
  • serving as a liaison with the National Main Street Center; and  
  • identifying  local programs that annually meet the standards of National Main Street Accreditation.

Most state Main Street Coordinating Programs primarily serve local Main Street downtown revitalization programs in communities with populations between 5,000 and 50,000. However, several statewide coordinating programs also provide services to traditional commercial districts in towns with populations under 5,000. Some state coordinating programs also select and assist neighborhood commercial districts in larger cities. As time, funding, and staffing allow, many state Main Street Coordinating Programs provide limited amounts of technical assistance and training to communities and organizations outside their participating Main Street program network.

Forty-five states have launched statewide Main Street programs since 1980. The National Main Street Center has been involved in the creation of nearly every existing coordinating program. As of spring 2013, 45 active Main Street Coordinating Programs are operating across the United States. They include 39 state programs, four (4) citywide Main Street programs, and two regional coordinating programs. 

Statewide Main Street programs are housed either in government agencies or in private nonprofit organizations. As of spring 2010: 

  • Fourteen state coordinating programs are housed in state government departments of commerce or economic development. 
  • Eight are housed in private nonprofit organizations. 
  • Seven are housed in state historic preservation offices. 
  • Seven are housed in state departments of housing or community development. 
  • One is housed in the office of the state's Lieutenant Governor. 

Regional Main Street Coordinating Programs

Regional Main Street Coordinating Programs are established to help cities, towns, and villages in a specific geographical or political region revitalize their downtown and neighborhood business districts. These programs function like a traditional statewide Main Street program, but serve a smaller number of communities in a smaller geographical or politically created area. Regional coordinating programs have been established for individual counties, such as Oakland County, Michigan, and for communities in a region that shares some affinity, such as the Western Erie Canal Corridor in New York. Communities participating in regional Main Street programs follow the Main Street Four-Point Approach® at the local level, complete with a local governing board and Main Street program director.

Regional Main Street programs support local Main Street efforts by:

  • creating economic development tools and resources that serve the region's specific economic conditions and needs;
  • competitively selecting communities with traditional commercial districts to participate in the regional program network;
  • providing an appropriate scope of technical assistance to participating local Main Street programs;
  • providing networking, advocacy, and encouragement to participating local Main Street programs;
  • serving as a liaison with the National Trust Main Street Center; and
  • identifying local programs that annually meet the standards of National Main Street Accreditation.

Regional Main Street Coordinating Programs primarily serve Main Street downtown revitalization programs in cities that vary in population size. As time, funding, and staffing allow, regional Main Street programs also provide limited technical assistance and training to communities and organizations outside their participating Main Street program network.

Because of their proximity to participating local programs, Regional Main Street Coordinating Programs are often able to deliver more technical assistance and training to communities. Regions also often have more homogenous economic circumstances and issues, which can enable the regional coordinating program to focus tightly on the Main Street issues and needs of the communities within that region.

In many cases, Regional Main Street Coordinating Programs are created in the absence of a statewide coordinating program, or because regional leaders want to provide more assistance than the statewide program may be able to offer. Regional Coordinating Main Street Programs can be established within existing public agencies or private economic or community development organizations.

Citywide Main Street Coordinating Programs

Citywide Main Street Coordinating Programs assist neighborhood-based organizations with the revitalization of traditional neighborhood business districts located within the city. Citywide Main Street programs support neighborhood Main Street efforts by:

  • creating economic development tools and resources that meet neighborhood needs and reflect the city's specific economic conditions;
  • competitively selecting local Main Street neighborhood commercial districts to participate in the citywise Main Street program network;
  • providing an appropriate scope of technical assistance to neighborhood Main Street organizations;
  • providing financial assistance to local Main Street organizations, primarily as operating capital;
  • providing networking, advocacy, and encouragement to participating neighborhood Main Street programs;
  • serving as a liaison with the National Trust Main Street Center; and  
  • identifying the local programs that annually meet standards of National Main Street Accreditation.

In many cases, Citywide Main Street Coordinating Programs are created because the city recognizes the advantages of utilizing the Main Street Four-Point Approach® to revitalize its traditional neighborhood business districts. Citywide programs may develop because the statewide coordinating program does not have the resources to meet the needs of the city's neighborhood business districts.

Eight cities have established Citywide Main Street Coordinating Programs since 1995. As of spring 2010, seven citywide Main Street coordinating programs remain active, serving a total of 38 neighborhood Main Street programs:

  • Baltimore, Maryland (Baltimore Development Corporation)
  • Boston, Massachusetts (Office of Business Development)
  • Detroit, Michigan (Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Commercial Revitalization)
  • Washington, D.C. (Office of Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development)
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Department of City Development)
  • Orlando, Florida (City of Orlando Business Development Division)
  • Portland, Oregon (City of Portland Development Commision)

To find a listing of current statewide, regional, or citywide coordinating program, click here.