MDF’s Maine Downtown Center Program


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 and 16 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.

Main Street Fellows AmeriCorps Program

Maine Downtown Center has just launched a new initiative, the Main Street Fellows AmeriCorps Program, which will place five Fellows in five Maine communities to help develop systems and strategies for a more resilient future. A central focus will be 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 an application to serve as a Main Street Fellow HERE.

The Maine Downtown Center is working to stay updated on current developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please find a selection of resources most relevant to small business owners, and the organizations that support them by following the link below.

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

Coming Soon!

Funding Opportunities

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)

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

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.

Accept the Challenge and Help Us REIMAGINE Maine Downtowns!

This inspiring fundraising opportunity is possible with a generous $100,000 gift from long-time supporter of MDF’s Maine Downtown Center (MDC), Bill King. This donor has challenged us to raise matching funds. Your mission – and we KNOW you’ll accept it – is to donate today so together we can REIMAGINE Maine Downtowns! 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.