About the Main Street Program
In 1980, Georgia was one of six pilot states to begin a statewide program of downtown economic development called Main Street. Waynesboro became a Main Street City in 2008. The Georgia Main Street Program is based on the simple but effective four-point approach originated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Main Street is a comprehensive revitalization process that improves all aspects of a commercial district. It successfully integrates the practical management strategy with the physical improvement of buildings and public spaces, aggressive promotion and image building, and the economic development of the area.
Essential to the successful Main Street is a professional program manager to coordinate the downtown revitalization program. Currently, Georgia has 105 Better Hometown and Main Street cities that operate under the Georgia Main Street Program umbrella.
The Eight Principles Guiding Successful Main Street Programs
- Action Oriented - Frequent visible changes in the look and activities of the commercial district will reinforce the perception of positive change. Small, but dramatic, improvements early in the process will remind the community that the revitalization effort is underway.
- Change - Changing community attitudes and habits is essential to bring about a commercial district renaissance. A carefully planned Main Street program will help shift public perceptions and practices to support and sustain the revitalization process.
- Comprehensive - A single project cannot revitalize a downtown or commercial neighborhood. An ongoing series of initiatives is vital to build community support and create lasting progress.
- Identifying and Capitalizing on Existing Assets - Unique offerings and local assets provide the solid foundation for a successful Main Street initiative.
- Incremental - Small projects make a big difference. They demonstrate that “things are happening” on Main Street and hone the skills and confidence the program will need to tackle more complex projects.
- Public / Private Partnership - Every local Main Street program needs the support and expertise of both the public and private sectors. For an effective partnership, each must recognize the strengths and weaknesses of the other.
- Quality - From storefront design to promotional campaigns to special events, quality must be instilled in the organization.
- Self-Help - The state can provide valuable direction and technical assistance, but only local leadership can breed long-term success by fostering and demonstrating community involvement and commitment to the revitalization effort.