The Maine Downtown Center

The Maine Development Foundation’s Maine Downtown Center, (MDC) program serves as a statewide resource for preservation-based downtown revitalization and serves as the state coordinator for the National Main Street Center’s Main Street Program. Established in 1999, MDC’s mission is to advance economic development in Maine downtowns using the 40-year-old Main Street Four-Point Approach®. 

The approach is considered one of the most powerful economic development tools in the nation for vibrant, healthy downtowns. Maine Downtown Center currently has 10 nationally designated Main Street Maine programs, 15 state designated Maine Downtown Affiliate programs, and works with scores of other communities on revitalization and improvement efforts. We believe Main Streets are for everyone. At the core of our approach to revitalization is a commitment to creating places of shared prosperity, equal access to opportunity, and inclusive engagement.

The Maine Downtown Center is working to stay updated on current developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic. For a comprehensive and current directory of resources please visit the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development’s Maine Resource Compass.

Does My Town Qualify?

Learn how becoming a Main Street Maine or Downtown Affiliate may be right for your downtown or neighborhood business district.

Getting Started

These three steps will get you started towards becoming a Main Street Maine or Maine Downtown Affiliate community

Main Street Maine

This almost 40-year-old approach has a reputation as one of the most powerful economic development tools in the nation for vibrant, healthy downtowns.

Maine Downtown Affiliates

MDA is ideal for communities in the early stages of downtown revitalization as well as for those communities working toward achieving “Main Street” designation.

Maine Downtown Institutes & Other Educational Programming

Our educational programs provide the essential training every community leader must know to boost the local downtown economy and leave a lasting legacy.

Members Area

The members area contains current opportunities, local data, informational resources, and member documents. It is only open to members.

Main Street Fellows AmeriCorps Program

The Maine Downtown Center’s Main Street Fellows AmeriCorps Program has placed Fellows in four Main Street communities, and one with the MDC, to help develop systems and strategies for a more resilient future. The Fellows are focused on increasing social capital, fostering more welcoming and equitable communities, and sharing new mindsets and models needed for communities to thrive.

Please find more information, and read about the 2020 Main Street Fellows HERE.

Funding Opportunities

The Maine Downtown Center shares information, tools and grant opportunities for communities engaged in downtown revitalization. For Main Street and Affiliate Communities, the Maine Downtown Center regularly seeks funding that will benefit those communities whether it be for historic preservation, training, technical assistance to small downtown businesses, or many other opportunities as they arise. In some cases, Maine Downtown Center serves as a sub-granting entity.

Maine Historic Commercial District Revolving Fund (HCDRF)

The Maine Downtown Center is pleased to work with the National Main Street Center (NMSC) to offer the Maine Historic Commercial District Revolving Fund (HCDRF), made possible through generous support from The 1772 Foundation, Inc. Over the next three years, the Maine HCDRF will provide 0% interest loans to business/building owners in Biddeford, Skowhegan and Gardiner. The program will be expanded to other communities in the future. Information and application forms HERE.


REvitalizeME is a grant program administered by Maine Downtown Center in partnership with the Maine Historic Preservation Commission REvitalizeME is supported through a grant from the Historic Preservation Fund, Historic Revitalization Subgrant Program, as administered by the National Park Service, Department of Interior. More information HERE.

Find out how the Main Street program works and why this 40 + year old approach to downtown revitalization is so successful!

“Downtowns don’t just happen by accident.  Reny’s values the Maine Downtown Center’s work and approach to downtown revitalization.  The Main Street approach is comprehensive, market-based and community led. The Main Street communities create an environment where it makes it a little easier to get a business off the ground and where businesses are more likely to succeed.  Reny’s has been attracted to these communities for many years when opening a new storefront.”  

Mary Kate Reny, 2018 Reny’s Department Stores

Hear Ed McMahon, chair of the National Main Street Center, give a rousing presentation on the principles of community revitalization and Maine Downtown Center.