What is Main Street?
Main Street America™ is a movement. Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for more than 35 years. It is the leading voice for preservation-based economic development and community revitalization across the country. Made up of small towns, mid-sized communities, and urban commercial districts, Main Street America represents the broad diversity that makes this country so unique. Working together, the programs that make up the Main Street America network help to breathe new life into the places people call home.
Main Street America is a mark of distinction. It is a seal, recognizing that participating programs, organizations, and communities are part of a national movement with a proven track record for celebrating community character, preserving local history, and generating impressive economic returns. Since 1980, over 2,000 communities have been part of Main Street, bringing renewed energy and activity to America’s downtowns and commercial districts, securing $61 billion in new investment creating more than 525,000 net new jobs and rehabilitating 251,000 buildings.
Main Street America is a time-tested strategy. Main Street America communities are encouraged to make use of a time-tested approach, known as the Main Street Approach. The Main Street Approach is rooted in a commitment to broad-based community engagement, a holistic understanding of the factors that impact the quality of life in a community, and strategic focus on the core principles of downtown and neighborhood revitalization: Economic Vitality, Quality Design, Effective Promotion, and Sustainable Organization.
Downtown Affiliate Network
The Downtown Affiliate Network is available to communities, neighborhoods, and non-traditional business districts that have a strong commitment towards downtown development but have a desire for a more flexible approach in the revitalization of their downtown. Affiliate programs can participate in Main Street training and still retain limited access to all of the technical services offered by the Office of Downtown Development. Participating programs are not required to have paid staff, but it is encouraged.
Classic Main Street Program
The Georgia Main Street Program has been an active contributor to the revitalization success of Georgia's historic commercial districts since 1980. All Classic Main Street Programs are designated by the state of Georgia and nationally accredited by the National Main Street Center annually. As part of the annual accreditation process all Classic Main Street communities are required to meet the 10 standards for accreditation. These standards place an emphasis on historic preservation education as well as economic development lending itself to an active and vibrant downtown.
Georgia's Exceptional Main Streets (Gems)
The Georgia's Exceptional Main Street communities, or better known as GEMS, represent some of the best of the best Main Street Programs that the state has to offer. These Main Street Programs have gone above and beyond expectations by making a strong and positive impact in their communities as measured by the Monthly Reporting and the Annual Assessment Process. GEMS level communities are entitled to special one on one technical services offered through the Office of Downtown Development as well as discounted training opportunities.