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How do I get my town interested in Main Street?

Main Street programs around the nation are started by ordinary, concerned citizens who work with others in the community to reach a common goal. To get started, gather as much information as possible and spark interest among community groups that have a stake in the future of your commercial corridor: local government, downtown businesses, economic and community development organizations, historic preservation groups, etc. Put together a task force to plan the next steps. Contact the Nebraska Main Street Network to learn how to become a member.

How does the Main Street program work locally?

Main Street programs are locally driven, funded, organized, and run. They are independent nonprofits or city agencies located in the community and affiliated with the statewide coordinating Main Street organization and a network of other Main Street organizations within the state.

Is joining the Nebraska Main Street Network the same as becoming a Main Street community?

No. Although the terminology is similar, they are two different processes. The Nebraska Main Street Network offers membership in order to provide information and benefits to any individual, agency, or organization interested in downtown revitalization and downtown management. This membership is open to any individual, agency or organization in Nebraska. Becoming designated as a Main Street program by the Nebraska Main Street Network and National Main Street Center is a completely different process, which requires communities meet certain established criteria and complete the application process. In order to call yourself a Main Street organization, you must be designated by the Nebraska Main Street Network and hold a licensing agreement with the National Main Street Center.

Who pays for the Main Street program? Is it a grant?

No. Financial support for a local Main Street program/organization comes from the local community itself: city government, merchants, businesses, and the public. The success of the Main Street program over the years lies in the fact that it is a local initiative, both organizationally and financially. When there is local buy-in and participation, people care more about the success of the program and become more involved.

How long does a local Main Street program last?

Commercial revitalization is a continual process. Successful downtown business districts have a management organization with full-time staff that work constantly to maintain business vitality, communication, management/coordination, and marketing. To ensure continuing economic success, Main Street organizations are ongoing.

How do I start a Main Street program in my community?

Typically, interest in developing a local Main Street program comes from business or property owners, city government, bankers, civic clubs, the chamber of commerce, historic preservationists, or other civic-minded groups. They contact the statewide coordinating Main Street organization to find out about the application process, discuss goals, establish an organization (Main Street programs are usually independent, nonprofit organizations), raise money to hire a Main Street director, and create volunteer committees and a board of directors to carry out the work. Once the program has been established, the Nebraska Main Street Network will work with the local community to examine the commercial district's needs and opportunities and develop a long-term, incremental strategy based on the Main Street Four-Point Approach™. The Nebraska Main Street Network provides consulting services, support, training, materials, and information to assist a revitalization organization throughout its growth.