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Exploring Main Street in Idaho

Old Town Pocatello

In an effort to revitalize and sustain the heart of historic communities and business districts throughout the state, Preservation Idaho, in conjunction with the Boise Field Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, has supported the Main Street in Idaho project since fall 2009.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation developed the Main Street program in the 1970s; today, the program is active in more than 1,800 communities nationwide, working to bring historic commercial corridors back to life. The program relies on four points that work together to build a sustainable revitalization effort: Organization, Promotion, Design and Economic Restructuring.

Neighboring states have implemented the Main Street program with a statewide coordinator housed in a state agency. Washington, Montana and Oregon each have one full-time state coordinator. Wyoming has a state coordinator and a program manager.

Update (June 19, 2012):
Main Street Program Launches in Idaho

Downtown Lewiston

Goal

Embrace a proven economic development measure to revitalize and sustain the heart of historic communities and business districts throughout Idaho.

Objective

Initiate and fund a permanent statewide Main Street program in Idaho.

Download: An Idaho Main Street Program: Exploring the Possibilities
White Paper For Discussion (PDF, September 20, 2007)

Background

What is the Main Street program?

The National Trust for Historic Preservation developed the Main Street program in the 1970s. The program has an innovative methodology that combines historic preservation with economic development to restore prosperity and vitality to downtown and neighborhood business districts. Today the National Trust’s Main Street Center is helping more than 1,800 communities bring their commercial corridors back to life. The program relies on four points that work together to build a sustainable revitalization effort: 1) Organization, 2) Promotion, 3) Design, and 4) Economic Restructuring.

What is the National Trust Main Street Center?

The National Trust Main Street Center has led the preservation-based revitalization movement by serving as the nation’s clearinghouse for information, technical assistance, research and advocacy. Through consulting services, conferences, publications, membership, newsletters and trainings, the Center has educated and empowered thousands of individuals and local organization to lead the revitalizations of their commercial districts.

How is this different from Idaho’s current downtown revitalization efforts?

Idaho communities have benefited from a number of programs including the Idaho Gem Community Program, Community Development and Rural Block grant programs, and Department of Commerce business and tourism development assistance. However none of these provides a comprehensive, on-going downtown management approach.

The Main Street program is guided by a series of principles, which set the methodology apart from other redevelopment strategies. 

What have our neighboring states done?

Nationally 40 states and the District of Columbia have Main Street programs. Most of Idaho’s neighboring states have implemented the Main Street program with a statewide coordinator housed in a state agency. Washington, Montana and Oregon each have 1 full time state coordinator. Wyoming has a state coordinator and a program manager.

Upcoming Events

Participants

Beautiful Downtown Lewiston
City of Nampa Community Development Department
Old Town Pocatello

For more information, contact:

Gloria Mabbutt, Idaho Department of Commerce, 208-334-2470, Gloria.Mabbutt@commerce.idaho.gov
Beautiful Downtown Lewiston, Breanne Durham, 790.1148
National Trust for Historic Preservation, Boise Field Office, Sheri Freemuth, 891-4121