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, 13 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.
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.
The members area contains current opportunities, local data, informational resources, and member documents. It is only open to MDC Main Street and Affiliate members.
Main Street Fellows AmeriCorps Program
The Main Street Fellows AmeriCorps Program is a one-year placement that provides a unique opportunity for Fellows to apply their skills and gain real-life, place-based experience helping to increase equity, local resilience, and social capital. Main Street Fellows work directly with host organizations on high-priority, community-identified projects, while also contributing their own interests and energy to those communities. The Fellows serve as a part of Maine’s robust network of AmeriCorps volunteers.
We are now recruiting for the 2021-22 cohort of Main Street Fellows! Learn more and apply HERE.
MDC Advisory Council
The Maine Downtown Center is grateful for the the critical insight and support of our volunteer Advisory Council. Council members include:
Scott Berk – Norway Downtown, Owner Café Nomad (Co-Chair)
Abbe Levin – Maine Office of Tourism (Co-Chair)
Joy Barresi Saucier – Aroostook Agency on Aging, Representing MDF Board
Kristina Cannon – Main Street Skowhegan
Mac Collins – Architect, Maine Historic Preservation Commission Member
Sarah Hansen – Greater Portland Landmarks
Terry Ann Holden – Maine Office of Community Development
Haley Jaramillo – Maine Dept of Transportation
Tara Kelly – Maine Preservation
Bill King – Senior Advisor
Jay Muth – Bangor Savings Bank
Jayne Palmer – Senior Advisor
Megan Rideout – Maine Historic Preservation Commission
Zach Schmesser – Our Town Belfast
Ken Young – Senior Advisor
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 Gen 2 is a grant program administered by Maine Downtown Center in partnership with the Maine Historic Preservation Commission. REvitalizeME Gen 2 is supported through a grant from the Historic Preservation Fund, Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Subgrant Program, as administered by the National Park Service, Department of Interior. Additional information, including grant application and grants manual will be posted here on November 1, 2021.
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.