Main Street Maine
A powerful economic development tool
Since 1999, MDF and its Maine Downtown Center have supported communities across the state as they diversify and revitalize their historic downtowns utilizing the Four-Point Approach® championed by the National Main Street Center, for which we are the state coordinator in 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 resulting in job creation, business growth, building rehabilitation and cultural enhancement.
There are currently ten communities which have received national accreditation and are designated Main Street Maine Communities:
Proof of Performance: Main Street Maine Community Reinvestment Data
Interested in Becoming a Member?
We are pleased that your community is interested in learning more about the Main Street Maine program and the Main Street Four-Point Approach® the Downtown Center employs to catalyze downtown revitalization in Maine communities. We suggest that as a first step you spend some time looking around our website and the website of the National Main Street Center®.
The Main Street Four-Point Approach® is an economic development program recognizing downtown as the heart and soul of the community. A healthy and vibrant downtown is crucial to the economic health and civic pride of an entire community. Through the Main Street Four-Point Approach® a public/private partnership is formed with the local government, downtown businesses and residents to promote downtown revitalization goals. For a successful program, all of these partners must contribute both financially and philosophically to support the Main Street effort.
The historic built environment in each town defines its true character. Main Street encourages finding new and different uses for existing buildings and encourages appropriate new development that will protect and enhance this environment. Some communities call it historic preservation; others simply refer to it as recycling buildings. The terminology is irrelevant; as it is the end result that is imperative to the well-being of the entire community.
Communities utilizing the Main Street Four-Point Approach® enter into an annual agreement with the Maine Downtown Center. Each Main Street Maine program is required to maintain an office and paid staff. The Center recommends that Main Street Maine cities and towns between 5,000 and 50,000 have a minimum annual operating budget designated for the program of no less than $60,000. These towns are required to hire paid staff for a minimum of 40 hours per week. It is recommended that rural Main Street Maine towns under 5,000 in population have a minimum annual operating budget of $25,000; these towns are required to hire paid staff for a minimum of 25 hours per week. The Center strongly recommends that even smaller communities raise funds to hire full time staff as the work remains the same regardless of community size.
We recommend that communities interested in becoming a Main Street Maine community take between one and two years to learn about the program and its processes. This creates the understanding and foundation to commit to the necessary funding and volunteer activity.