GAMSA Application Process
The Great American Main Street Awards® (GAMSA) application has multiple components, including detailed questions - via an online survey - on the history and successes of the Main Street program; up to thirty (30) photos; detailed map; letters of support and other supporting documents.
Only entries that conform to the application directions will be considered. All materials submitted will become the property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and will not be returned.
NEW FOR 2013: the 2013 GAMSA application is 100% electronic - photos, supporting documents, maps and letters of support will all be submitted through an online portal. Instructions for submitting supporting photos and documents will be included in the online application.
The Great American Main Street Awards® competition is open to all National Main Street Programs accredited for at least the two years prior to applying for the award. In other words, to be eligible for the 2013 awards, you must have been accredited in both 2011 and 2012. At this time, previous winners are ineligible to apply for GAMSA. Learn more about accreditation.
Eligible programs will be contacted by their coordinating programs with instructions on applying for the 2013 GAMSA award.
All applications submitted by the deadline are reviewed and scored by Main Street Coordinators and National Trust staff using the criteria below. A jury of representatives from community revitalization, economic development, and historic preservation fields will review top scored applications, using the same criteria and select the winners.
- Broad-based community support for the Main Street effort;
- Active involvement of the public and private sectors;
- Comprehensive Main Street effort: activity in all four points of the Main Street Four Point Approach®;
- Successful small business development;
- Commitment to historic preservation;
- Commitment to residential development;
- Innovative solutions to significant problems;
- Economic impact of the Main Street program;
- Evolving track record of successful commercial district revitalization; and
- Quality of achievements over time;
Tips and Recommendations
Tip #1: Prepare! Know the story you want to tell before you begin. What makes your community stand out from the other 600+ eligible communities? Don’t assume reviewers know your community (the opposite is more likely). Be sure answers are well edited and intended for an audience that is looking at your community for the first time.
Tip #2: Pictures matter! Make sure you are selecting photos that support the information and story you are relaying in the application. Put some good time and effort into selecting quality photos that truly reflect your unique story. Also use your captions wisely.
Tip #3: Take credit! The key words in GAMSA are "Main Street". Reviewers and jury need to see the connection between Main Street and the success of the revitalization efforts.
Tip #4: Don’t get discouraged. On average, GAMSA winners have applied at least 2 times and many have won on their 3rd or 4th application. There is tough competition for those winning slots each year and sometimes it takes a few times to be named a winner.
- All materials submitted are the property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and will not be returned.
- Only applications submitted in the format indicated above will be accepted.
- You will be able to save your responses online and return to edit them. However, we strongly recommend that you compose your responses beforehand and paste them into the online form.
Recognition of Winners
Winners of the Great American Main Street Awards® competition are officially honored at the National Main Streets Conference each year. The awards ceremony will feature the winners' achievements, as well as the presentation of the award. The information on winners is kept confidential until the official announcement.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation will also distribute press releases announcing the award winners to local and national media and winning communities will be featured in an issue of the National Main Street Center's bi-monthly journal, Main Street Now, on the www.mainstreet.org and www.PreservationNation.org, as well as other media. Great American Main Street Awards® winning communities also receive a bronze plaque and a certificate marking their achievement.
Great American Main Street Awards® communities also receive a bronze plaque and a certificate marking their achievement.