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Main Street Design Case Study Program

Design is an essential component of a successful Main Street revitalization program’s activities.  The physical appearance and condition of buildings and public spaces are vital to economic development efforts in today’s competitive business climate.  Historic preservation and adaptive reuse are key in ensuring important community assets are retained and continue to serve a useful purpose.

The Nebraska Main Street program provides design assistance to designated local Main Street programs through the Nebraska Main Street District Design Case Study Program. All Nebraska Main Street Network member communities are eligible to request this program.  For designated Main Street communities this service is cost-share contract.  For all other members, the actual cost of the program will be paid for by the requesting community.

Each Design Case Study Program will be sponsored by the local Main Street organization and requires active participation by local Main Street program staff, board and committee volunteers, district building and business owners, city officials, and members of the public.  The Main Street design professional working with each community will have demonstrated experience with Main Street communities and a working knowledge of the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, and understanding of the Federal Tax Credit program for historic preservation, along with other financial incentives including the Nebraska Valuation Incentive Program (VIP) and Nebraska Historic Preservation Tax Credit.  They will also have experience working with projects involving historic rehabilitation, adaptive reuse, historic building maintenance and construction.

Communities will submit a design case study program request form to start the process. The case study services will be scheduled accordingly with the Main Street design professionals who are available to travel to the community.  The minimum number of projects a community is required to submit is three (3) and the maximum is four (4).  A more detailed outline of work for each community will be determined upon receipt of the form and will be provided for review by the design team prior to the community visit.  The day to day and a half long site visit will include an initial meeting to introduce the design team and brief the community about the program and case study projects. The design team will then take a tour of the Main Street district and make site visits to the buildings or projects described in the request form, working with each property owner or business owner of the selected projects. The assessment of each project will include identifying conditions that may require rehabilitation or maintenance before appropriate design solutions such as exterior paint colors, compatible signage, and storefront improvements can be made.  After the site visits, the design team will then prepare preliminary conceptual illustrations (not construction drawings and no cost estimates) for each of the selected projects before presenting their ideas at a wrap-up community meeting.  Design literacy and historic preservation are an important part of the Main Street program, therefore the community presentation will include information on the principles of good design for rehabilitation and historic preservation. After the Main Street design professional leaves the community, they will work with Nebraska Main Street staff to prepare a final project report with illustrations and written recommendations. The report will be completed within 60-days after the site visit.

For more detailed information, please download the information handout below.


Any drawings that may be provided to the building owner, business owner or community are for illustrative purposes only and are not for construction. Design services provided by this case study program are artist renderings that do not take the place of services provided by a registered architect or engineer. Consult with licensed professionals before embarking on any of the design ideas illustrated.  The Nebraska Main Street Network’s Main Street Design Case Study Program is an educational activity to help communities visualize the potential of attractive facades that contribute to a vibrant business district.