MDF’s Maine Downtown Center Receives Maine Office of Tourism Marketing and Development Recovery Grant 

Hallowell, MAINE — January 16, 2023  — The Maine Downtown Center, a program of Maine Development Foundation (MDF), has been awarded a $331,050 Maine Office of Tourism Marketing and Development Recovery Grant which was funded through the US Economic Development Administration (EDA) American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation State Grant.  

The funds will support the development of tourism experiences in historic downtowns that in turn boost the larger community’s economic recovery and strengthen the resilience of these downtowns going forward.  

“Maine’s 10 nationally accredited Main Street organizations will benefit from this grant as they build place-based tourism enterprises that will support their communities. Our platform will be ready to share these experiences in the next year.” says Anne Ball, Senior Program Director, Maine Downtown Center. 

This innovative approach to community and economic development is developed and driven by community desire and customer demand and in line with the Maine Office of Tourism’s Destination Management Plan. The project will take place in collaboration with Maine’s Main Street organizations through Main Street Maine, an existing web and social media project. 

The funds will enable the Planeterra Foundation to conduct training, support for integrating community tourism enterprises into existing business models, stakeholder analysis, market analysis, and value chain analysis. Bonneville Consulting will also support the effort through web site updates and fresh marketing efforts.  

These efforts are expected to provide a significant boost to Maine downtowns which were hit hard by the Coronavirus Pandemic lockdown in 2020 and continue to feel economic challenges with workforce, adaptation to technology, the need for new business models, and supply chain issues. Research by Main Street America shows that small businesses located in a Main Street, or an Affiliate Community fared better than those in other communities. Downtown organizations are critical to efficient and effective application of this grant money and to keeping these downtowns vibrant and thriving. To learn more about Maine Downtown Center and how your community can get involved, visit our website