Main Street Program
The Main Street Program is a preservation -based approach to commercial revitalization and one of the most successful economic development programs in the country. The central goal of the Main Street Program is preserving historic commercial buildings. On Main Street, preserving historic commercial buildings makes good economic sense. But saving buildings also means revitalizing the district's economy, providing economic reasons for people to rehabilitate and maintain the buildings.
Developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Main Street Program advances economic development within the context of historic preservation and supports public-private partnerships to ensure long-term success.
In Connecticut, the Main Street Program was established in 1995 by the Connecticut Light and Power Company (CL&P), which currently is the only private corporation in the country to solely sponsor and administer a statewide Main Street Program. In 1999 CL&P created Connecticut Main Street Center (CMSC) as a private non-profit corporation which is currently funded by the Connecticut Department of Economic & Community Development and CL&P. CMSC is devoted to the revitalization of Connecticut's downtown districts with the hope that by spurring economic development within the context of historic preservation, that these areas will be once more become thriving commercial and social centers.
The Main Street program has a four point approach to downtown revitalization.
- Organization: Building consensus and cooperation among public and private groups and individuals, and identifying sources of funding for revitalization activities.
- Design: Enhancing the district's physical appearance through building rehabilitation, compatible new construction, public improvements, and design management systems.
- Promotion: Marketing the commercial district through events and advertising to attract customers, potential investors, new businesses, residents and visitors.
- Economic Restructuring: Strengthening the district's economic base and creating new opportunities through careful analysis and appropriate mixed-use development.
The Connecticut Main Street Center uses the four point approach in conjunction with eight principles to produce fundamental change in the traditional commercial business districts:
- The Main Street approach is comprehensive.
- The Main Street approach is incremental in nature
- Main Street requires local commitment
- A public/private partnership is needed to make meaningful, long-term revitalization possible.
- The Main Street approach focuses on existing assets
- The Main Street approach relies on quality
- The Main Street approach involves changing attitudes
- The Main Street approach is implementation oriented
Currently in Connecticut there are 10 Main Street Communities, including East Hartford, Middletown, Niantic, New London, Portland, Rockville, Simsbury, Windsor, Winsted and Upper Albany in Hartford.
To learn more about the Main Street Program and protecting locally owned retail businesses, please use one of the links provided below.