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The Main Street Approach to Downtown Development

NATIONALLY ACCREDITED MAIN STREET PROGRAM

Downtown Mesquite is proud to be part of the statewide and nationwide network of communities selected to be part of the Main Street Program - a very successful, proven program dedicated to downtown revitalization.

Mesquite became an officially designated Main Street Program on Jan. 1, 2019. Since then, volunteers have been immersed in training in the Main Street methodology (see below for details), creating strategic plans based on data, and implementing those plans. As a designated Main Street neighborhood, Downtown Mesquite is part of a very large network of downtown districts engaged in various stages of revitalization. A great deal of training, access to experts, services such as free architectural assistance and more come by virtue of being part of Texas Main Street and Main Street America.

Even though the downtown revitalization program is just beginning, Downtown Mesquite's work was honored with statewide recognition by the Texas Downtown Association: the Best Economic Game Changer award went to The Gathering at Corner Theatre, and the neighborhood as a whole received the Spirit of Downtown award.

A further honor came about in early 2020 as Downtown Mesquite was designated an Accredited Main Street program, which was earned by exceeding standards for best practices in Downtown revitalization.

Downtown Mesquite joins approximately 90 other downtown districts in the Main Street Program and has the distinction of being the only Accredited Main Street program in Dallas County. Please see below for further information on the Texas Main Street and the national Main Street America programs.
Mesquite Downtown Development Advisory Board members celebrate two statewide awards received in late 2019.

What is Main Street?

A GRASSROOTS NETWORK

Made up of small towns, mid-sized communities, and urban commercial districts, the thousands of organizations, individuals, volunteers, and local leaders that make up Main Street America™ represent the broad diversity that makes this country so unique. Working together, the Main Street America Network helps to breathe new life into the places people call home.

THE HEART OF COMMUNITIES

The Main Street movement grew out of a recognition that a community is only as strong as its core. In an era when many people had given up hope about the commercial and cultural viability of downtown, and when suburbs, shopping malls, and big box retailers were dominating the American landscape, this seemed like an unlikely proposition. But, over the last four decades, the Main Street movement has proven that downtowns are the heart of our communities, and that a community is only as strong as its core.

A MOVEMENT OF COMMUNITY CHANGEMAKERS

Main Street empowers communities to set their own destinies. While revitalization is challenging work, the Main Street program offers a road-map for locally-owned, locally-driven prosperity. Across the country, thousands of communities have used the Main Street Approach to transform their economies, leverage local leadership, and improve overall quality of life.

MAIN STREET FUNDAMENTALS

  • The Main Street Approach is centered around Transformation Strategies. A Transformation Strategy articulates a focused, deliberate path to revitalizing or strengthening a downtown or commercial district’s economy.
  • A program’s work on Transformation Strategies should be organized around the Four Points: Economic Vitality, Design, Promotion, and Organization.
  • A revitalization program’s work – and its Transformation Strategies – need to be informed by a solid understanding of local and regional market data, and sustained and inclusive community engagement.

THE FOUR-POINT APPROACH

Successful downtown revitalization doesn't occur due to one strategy or action. It takes targeted, concerted effort in four general categories (below). We have volunteer committees that concentrate on each of these Four Points.

ECONOMIC VITALITY focuses on capital, incentives, and other economic and financial tools to assist new and existing businesses, catalyze property development, and create a supportive environment for entrepreneurs and innovators that drive local economies.

DESIGN supports a community’s transformation by enhancing the physical and visual assets that set the commercial district apart.

PROMOTION positions the downtown or commercial district as the center of the community and hub of economic activity, while creating a positive image that showcases a community’s unique characteristics.

ORGANIZATION involves creating a strong foundation for a sustainable revitalization effort, including cultivating partnerships, community involvement, and resources for the district.

This content was originally published on the National Main Street Center’s website, www.mainstreet.org
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