Are you ready for a big “refresh?”
If you are a Main Street manager or board member, chances are you have heard about the National Main Street Center’s new adjustment of its Main Street Approach to downtown revitalization. After 35 years of practice, the Approach was overdue for a positive retooling, one that builds on the value of previous success while recognizing current socio-economic realities that impact our work.
Tried and Tested
The Center has been diligent and deliberate in making these changes. Extensive study, surveying, testing, and input from Main Street professionals have led to the adjustments on the Main Street Approach that are being “beta-tested” by several programs around the country. The national implementation will take place in early 2017, and the Center has already launched a new branding and marketing campaign that local agencies can adopt now.
What the New Refresh Means for Main Street Programs
Here, we answer two fundamental questions about the new Main Street Approach: how does the local Main Street organization implement the refreshed Approach; and what are the benefits that we can expect from its implementation?
How do we implement?
A substantial portion of the new program focuses on
- The way we assess our community needs,
- How we build our annual strategic plan to address those needs, and
- How we recognize and measure the results of our work.
Strategic plans will be based on “Community Transformation Strategies.” In order to identify these strategies, the local Main Street organization will be expected to engage in significant public input and market data analysis. Using this input and analysis, action teams will identify two to three annual Transformation Strategies and integrate the Main Street Four Points ® into each strategy, rather than breaking the strategic plan up into specialized committee work.
Much more than a task list, the new model is an adjustment on how the local main street program functions because the emphasis is on solving large problems and planning for economic transformation.
What are the expected benefits?
The local community will see a new focus on economic development that brings greater positive impact on Main Street; an increased emphasis on broader community engagement will bring new supporters, partners, and energy to the local program; and measured results will bring both short term and long term economic improvement for the local main street district.
Emphasizing Economic Vitality
Too often in the past, local leaders have viewed Main Street mostly as a producer of festivals and special events. While those promotion activities still have a role in the overall revitalization efforts, the new Main Street Approach rightly offers a special emphasis on economic vitality, which is the core of our mission and our business.
Georgia’s State Main Street Office and the National Main Street Center offer more details and guidance. We are also available to assist you in crafting your annual strategic plan within this exciting new framework.