In the middle 1980s Tennessee Main Street Program joined the National Main Street Center as a coordinating partner. Since then our program has engaged with towns and cities across Tennessee, spreading the national methodology and language of “Main Street” , developed more than 30 years ago and successful in more than 2,500 communities across America.
The National Main Street Center’s © “Main Street Approach to Downtown Revitalization” comprehensive downtown revitalization advocates a return to community self-reliance, local empowerment and the rebuilding of traditional business districts based on unique assets such as distinctive architecture, a pedestrian-friendly environment and local ownership. In other words, we believe in community-driven, common sense solutions to make our downtowns safe, appealing and vibrant places where folks want to shop, live and make memories.
Downtowns play an important role in a community’s economic development strategy. These commercial cores usually account for as much as 30 percent of a community’s jobs and 40 percent of its tax base. Downtown is also a community’s crossroads – a place in our hearts and minds that evoke strong emotions and help define our identity.
The benefits of downtown revitalization are clear:
Revitalization protects the existing tax base. Private investment in banks, businesses and commercial property and public investment in streets, sidewalks and water and sewer lines are protected and enhanced.
Revitalization provides an incubator for new business. A viable downtown offers opportunities and incentives for the new entrepreneurs such as lower rent and technical assistance.
Revitalization helps attract industrial development. Downtown reflects the overall image a community projects to potential investors. An invigorated downtown makes a very positive statement about the whole community.
Revitalization provides a point of focus and stability. A vibrant downtown gives the whole community and region a sense of pride and positive self-image. It also serves as an anchor that holds the community together and provides the stability necessary for economic growth.
Are you interested in becoming part of a national movement to restore your community’s downtown core as a vibrant place to live, work, shop and explore? Learn more by clicking on the “Program Information” tab below.
Tennessee Downtowns Program was introduced in 2009 as a more basic downtown revitalization program for communities that want to learn about the Main Street Approach. Through this program, cities and towns can access the technical assistance and expert advice they need to fully understand the comprehensive nature of downtown revitalization.
The Tennessee Downtowns training curriculum lasts roughly 18 months and is currently operating in 22 communities across the state.
Communities with central business districts at least 50 years old are eligible to apply for a downtown revitalization package, which includes a site visit, attendance at a two-day downtown revitalization workshop, ongoing technical assistance and an innovation project grant.
Tennessee Downtowns is a basic introduction to downtown revitalization and may not be a good fit for communities that have already started a downtown revitalization program. Check out the Criteria to see if your community can qualify.