National Main Streets Conference Spotlights Current Trends in Local Investment, Entrepreneurship and Job Creation

Conference Returns to Baltimore, April 1-4, 2012, Releases “State of Main Street” Report

The 27th National Main Streets Conference will take place from April 1-4 in Baltimore, attracting more than a thousand city planners, community revitalization professionals and elected officials to explore the theme, “Rediscovering Main Street.” The conference, organized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, features the release of the annual “State of Main Street” report, a summary of trends that reveal how Main Streets nationwide are surviving and thriving in this uncertain economy.

“If Main Street is the heart of America, small businesses are the lifeblood. They generate 80 percent of jobs and half of our nation’s GDP,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Drawing from examples right here in Baltimore and the state of Maryland, attendees can expect thought provoking sessions on boosting small businesses and attracting residents, heritage tourists and investment that will sustain their historic downtowns.”

The 2012 National Main Streets conference responds to several current national trends: consumer interest in buying and investing locally, pro-Main Street versus Wall Street public sentiment, and growing real estate demand for attractive, walkable communities. Even national “big box” retailers like Target and Walmart recognize the Main Street advantage, and are opening new, “small box” stores downtown and in urban commercial districts.  Amy Cortese, an award-winning journalist, will deliver the conference keynote address on “locavesting,” an innovative practice that empowers individuals to become financial backers of local small businesses. Other conference highlights include:  

  • Over 50 educational sessions, workshops and tours, on topics including engaging immigrant business owners, encouraging pop-up businesses and using community gardens to revitalize emerging neighborhoods;
  • An “Urban Summit” that will bring together leaders from Portland, Oregon to Boston to discuss the future of Main Street revitalization in urban neighborhoods;
  • The announcement of the prestigious 2012 Great American Main Street Award winners;
  • Educational tours, including a tour of Baltimore’s many successful adaptive use projects financed by the federal historic tax credit, and a look at Baltimore’s urban agricultural movement.

The full conference program is available at

The 2012 National Trust Main Streets Conference is co-hosted by Baltimore Main Streets in partnership with Main Street Maryland.

PUBLIC: To register, or for more information about the 2012 National Main Streets Conference, please visit, or call 202-588-6219. The public may purchase tickets for field tours upon registering for the conference on site, beginning Saturday, March 31st at 2-6pm at the Baltimore Hilton.

PRESS: Registration for the media is free. To register in advance, please email On-site registration for press begins Sunday, April 1stat 10:00 am. Please check-in at the press table upon arrival.



The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places., @SavingPlaces