2009 National Main Street Programs

Each year, the National Trust Main Street Center (NTMSC) and its coordinating program partners announce the list of accredited Main Street programs that have built strong revitalization organizations and demonstrated their ability to use the comprehensive Main Street approach to revive their commercial districts. Since 2005, the number of accredited communities has grown from less than 600 to more than 750 out of the 1,250 designated Main Street programs.

Attracting artists to the community has been a major catalyst for renewal in Millville, N.J., which has become a popular arts and cultural tourist destination.

Credit: Craig Terry

"This highly prized recognition of accredited programs," says NTHP President Richard Moe, "reflects the commitment made by community leaders to create economic development while revitalizing the hearts of our towns and cities."

"We congratulate this year's nationally accredited Main Street programs for meeting our established performance standards," adds NTMSC Director Doug Loescher. "Rebuilding a district's economic health and maintaining that success requires broad-based community involvement and support, as well as establishing a strong organization that is committed to long-term success."

Each of these programs has met performance standards that ensure a comprehensive, preservation-based approach to commercial district revitalization. The National Trust Main Street Center works in partnership with coordinating Main Street programs throughout the nation to identify local programs that meet 10 basic performance standards. These standards set the benchmarks for measuring an individual Main Street program's application of the Main Street Four-Point Approach®. The evaluation criteria determine that the communities are building comprehensive, sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as developing a mission, fostering strong partnerships, tracking economic progress, and preserving historic buildings.

In 2005, Greensburg, Indiana, formed the Heart of the Tree City organization to preserve its downtown historic district and ensure that it stays the center of the community's economic, cultural, governmental, and social activity.

Credit: Bryan Robbins

"When the Main Street Center first adopted performance standards for local programs and began accrediting them, I was less than enthusiastic, believing everyone 'deserves an A for effort'," recalls NTMSC Assistant Director for Field Services Lauren Adkins. "But after about 5 years of accrediting local programs, I attended the Main Street West Virginia awards program and noticed that the projects winning awards were much more advanced than they had been in previous years.  That's the impact of raising the bar.  Our whole movement improves as each community works a little bit harder."