Create or support a State Main Street Program
Main Street programs are community-driven efforts to revitalize older business districts. Main Street programs are distinguished from other revitalization approaches by their use of the Main Street approach to commercial revitalization, which was developed in 1970 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation
According to the National Trust, the approach encourages "the rebuilding of traditional commercial districts based on their unique assets, such as distinctive historic architecture, pedestrian-friendly environments, personal services, local ownership, and a sense of community." More than 2,000 communities benefited from Main Street programs between 1980 and 2007, with the average reinvestment per community being approximately $11 million, the National Trust says. The programs are credited with generating more than 370,000 jobs.
Forty-three states have a state Main Street Program. State programs help local Main Street efforts with technical assistance and training, and in obtaining funding from public and private sector sources.
But state programs are often stretched thin. Funding can be provided through the budget appropriation process. Also, many states designate an increment of state tax revenue, such as a portion of the state real estate transfer tax or a conservation tax, to fund their Main Street programs. Washington state's recently established Main Street Trust Fund draws on a variety of funding sources including use receipts from private contributions, federal funds, legislative appropriations and fees for services.
- Iowa's Main Street Program
The Iowa Main Street Program claims credit for creating nearly 9,000 jobs and for stimulating $712 million in private investment in downtown buildings since its creation in 1986. Iowa localities compete to receive technical and financial support from the state program.
Selected communities receive approximately $100,000 worth of onsite visits, training and technical assistance in their first three years. During the startup phase, Main Street Iowa, the National Main Street Center and private consultants provide training for local directors and volunteers. After the startup phase, the state annually invests approximately $10,000 in each certified Main Street and Rural Main Street community.
— Iowa's Main Street Program