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Indiana Office of Community & Rural Affairs

OCRA > Indiana Main Street (IMS) > FAQs FAQs

How does Main Street work locally?

Typically, interest in developing a local Main Street program comes from business or property owners, city government, bankers, civic clubs, the Chamber of Commerce, historic preservationists or other civic-minded groups. Community leaders (both public and private sector) discuss goals, establish an organization (Main Street programs are usually independent non-profit organizations), raise money to hire a Main Street manager, and create committees and a board of directors to carry out the work. Once established, the program's participants examine the commercial district's needs and opportunities and develop a long-term, incremental strategy based on the Main Street Four Point Approach to strengthen commercial activity and improve buildings.

Who should be involved in the local Main Street organization?

Everyone with a stake in the commercial district and its future should be involved. Merchants, property owners, the Chamber of Commerce, industries, local government and private citizens all benefit from a healthy local economy and from a historic city core that reflects the community's heritage and ideals.  Solid partnerships are crucial to the Main Street program's success.

How can I learn how to apply the Main Street Four Point Approach to my community?

The Indiana Main Street office offers a variety of publications, audiovisual materials and computer software to help guide your local revitalization efforts. It also sponsors a state conference which provides training opportunities.   Through Indiana Main Street's membership in the National Main Street network, you can link up with other Main Street organizations, so you can learn from their experiences.

Am I the right person to get this started, and how can I get others interested in this program?

Main Street programs around the nation are started by concerned citizens who work with others in the community. Contact groups that should have an interest in your downtown's future to meet and discuss needs and opportunities for change. This might include local government officials, the Chamber of Commerce, and historic preservation groups. Call us at 317.232.8910 and we'll send you informational brochures that explain the Main Street Four Point Approach. It will help you put together a task force to plan the next steps. If there is an active downtown organization in your community, join it and present your ideas.

Who pays for the Main Street program? Is it a grant?

No. Financial support for the program comes from the local entities that have a stake in the downtown: city government, merchants, businesses, and the public. The success of the Main Street program over the years can be attributed to the fact that it is a local initiative, both organizationally and financially. People are more likely to become involved in and care more about the success of a project to which they have contributed resources and time.

How long does a local Main Street program last?

Commercial revitalization is an ongoing process. Just as a shopping center has a full-time staff and works constantly to ensure proper leasing, management and marketing, downtown and neighborhood commercial districts need ongoing attention, too.

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