Get your questions answered

Frequently asked questions can be found below. You may also download a printer friendly version of these FAQ here.

Can a Main Street program be run by the city?

Missouri Main Street Connection does not recommend a Main Street run by the city. In our experience the Main Street model works best when run as a nonprofit which allows for more community buy-in, ability to apply for grants, and more. However, it is possible to have a city run a Main Street program. Across the nation there are several examples including Sedalia Main Streets in Missouri. Contact our team to learn more.

How to start a Main Street program?

Missouri Main Street Connection offers matching service grants which walk local stakeholders through creating a Main Street program. If you are interested contact Ben White.

How can my company offer services or products to Missouri Main Street Connection's participating programs?

Downtown preservation specialists including, but not limited to: architectural and engineering firms, construction companies, landscape designers, urban planners, financial consultants, street furnishing manufacturers, and building tradesman specializing in historic restoration and rehabilitation can reach out to Ben White. Ben and the Historic Preservation committee will review your company and if our goals align, list you in our professional directory. We also recommend you consider becoming an exhibitor at our annual Missouri’s Premier Downtown Revitalization Conference.

Why is downtown important?

Missouri’s downtowns are the most visible indicator of a community’s pride as it is the area that best showcases the community’s unique identity through its history and culture. Downtown is either an asset or a liability in the effort to recruit new residents, new businesses and industries, retirees, tourists and others to your community and to keep those you already have. Quality of life is what separates success from decline.

Who can be a part of Missouri Main Street Connection's network?

Any individual, business, corporation, or community in Missouri can be a part of the Main Street movement in Missouri as an investor of Missouri Main Street Connection. Learn more about what it means to be an investor on our Invest page.

What is the Main Street Approach™ to revitalization?

The Main Street Approach™ was developed the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Since 1980, the National Trust for Historic Preservation through the National Main Street Center (also known as Main Street America) has been teaching downtown revitalization principles that developed through a pilot program they launched in 1977. These principles are comprehensive in nature and carefully integrated into four points: Design, Organization, Promotion, and Economic Vitality. These points form committees that conduct the operations and activities of a local Main Street organization. Learn more about the Main Street Approach™ on our programs and trainings page or from Main Street America.

What is Missouri Main Street Connection?

Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) is the leading statewide nonprofit organization devoted to preservation-based economic development. Our staff helps communities throughout the state revitalize their commercial business districts’ economy, appearance, and perception within the context of historic preservation. The National Trust for Historic Preservation and Main Street America have authorized Missouri Main Street Connection to conduct evaluations of local Main Street programs in Missouri to determine their qualifications for Accreditation which is recognized by Main Street America. MMSC partners with many entities to deliver revitalization education services and technical preservation expertise to communities in Missouri that are working to revitalize their downtowns while preserving the heritage and cultural assets of their communities. Learn more about our history here.

What does Missouri Main Street Connection do as the statewide program?

Missouri Main Street Connection helps communities at any point in their journey towards improving their historic district. From starting to organize a collective group of supporters to developing skills necessary to carry out downtown revitalization; we serve as a source for the latest information, tools and techniques in downtown development and preservation.

Who can have a program agreement with Missouri Main Street Connection?

Any Missouri community that has a traditional downtown district can form a local Main Street program through our matching service grant or on their own. This local Main Street program then can sign a program agreement with MMSC. Communities that have a program agreement with MMSC are placed into tiers based on their use of the Main Street Approach™. For details about our tier levels visit our Impact page.

What if my city does not have a street named "Main Street"?

Main Street is a program for downtown commercial revitalization, not a requirement. Communities with a traditional historic downtown district can become Main Streets, regardless of what the communities street names may be.

How is MMSC funded?

MMSC is a nonprofit 501c3 corporation, primarily funded by private contributors, and in part by fees for its educational services. Some of the professional service costs are funded by the State of Missouri government through the Department of Economic Development.

Does the Missouri Main Street Connection award grants?

Missouri Main Street Connection partners with other entities to award grants yearly. These grants are available to communities with program agreements with MMSC and any additional requirements per the specific grant. Check out current grants on our Programs and Training page.

Who pays for a local Main Street Program?

Main Street is a grassroots initiative funded in part by individuals in the community, business sponsors, corporate contributions, local fundraising projects, grants and municipal government. Each local Main Street Program is responsible for securing its own funding, which should come from diverse sources and show a strong public-private partnership. A typical funding formula is:

  • 30% local businesses and individuals
  • 30% local government
  • 30% financial institutions/industry in and outside the area
  • 10% special events, grants, fundraising projects, etc.

The local Main Street Organization Committee and the Board of Directors are typically responsible for fundraising.

Is a local Main Street program the same as a Chamber of Commerce?

No. Chambers of Commerce are designed to promote business and benefit their members. Main Street programs are planned and implemented with community participation and with the goal of benefiting everyone in the community.

My community cannot hire a full-time Main Street director. Can we hire someone part-time or can a volunteer do the job?

A full-time Executive Director is desirable, but most new programs can afford only a part-time director or volunteer. The goal for new programs is to develop a working Board of Directors that operates efficiently and carries out effective planning and program implementation while building the financial resources to hire staff. A Main Street organization should always strive to have a working board with staff utilized as facilitators and spokespersons for the organization.

Can anyone call their nonprofit "Main Street"?

Technically yes. There is no longer a trademark registration for the term “Main Street” held by the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s (NTHP) National Main Street Center for revitalization organizations. Though, there are sublicensed materials, including logos and website copy that are provided by NTHP, Main Street Amreica, and MMSC that authenticate a designated Main Street community.

How long does a Main Street program last?

Revitalization is an ongoing process, not a project with a completion date. The principles of the Main Street Approach™ lend to local Main Street programs becoming sustainable organizations that are comprehensive, action-oriented, and work incrementally. Downtown needs continual support because economic conditions change and the built environment always needs regular maintenance and improvements. Thus, in Missouri, there are long standing Main Street programs with over 30 years in operation that impact their community.

What role does Missouri Main Street Connection play in the local program's policy making decisions?

MMSC’s role is to provide advice and technical assistance grounded in the latest information, tools, and techniques. Our staff does not determine local policy. We can, and often do, provide guidance on how a Main Street’s nonprofit board should conduct business. Upholding business in an ethical and professional manner as part of the Organization point of the Main Street Approach™. The guidance we provide encourages local programs in observing all requirements for charitable organizations as determined by the IRS code and the Missouri Sunshine Law (FOIA) as applicable. We recommend policies that guide the local organization should be based upon the Main Street Approach™.

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