The Four-Point Approach
In 1980, the National Trust for Historic Preservation established the National Main Street Center to assist downtown revitalization efforts. The Wisconsin Main Street Program is based on the Trust’s philosophy, which advocates restoration of the historic character of downtown while pursuing traditional development strategies such as marketing, business recruitment and retention, real estate development, market analysis and public improvements. Four elements combine to create this program:
Organization involves building a Main Street framework that is well represented by civic groups, merchants, bankers, citizens, public officials and chambers of commerce. Everyone must work together to renew downtown. A strong organization provides the stability to build and maintain a long-term effort.
Design enhances the attractiveness of the business district. Historic building rehabilitations, street and alley clean-ups, colorful banners, landscaping and lighting all improve the physical image of the downtown as a quality place to shop, work, walk, invest in and live. Design improvements result in a reinvestment of private and public dollars into the downtown.
Economic Restructuring involves analyzing current market forces to develop long-term solutions. Recruiting new businesses, creatively converting unused space for new uses and sharpening the competitiveness of Main Street’s traditional merchants are examples of economic restructuring activities.
Promotion creates excitement downtown. Street festivals, parades, retail events and image development campaigns are some of the ways Main Street encourages consumer traffic in the downtown. Promotion involves marketing an enticing image to shoppers, investors and visitors.
For more information, log on to the Wisconsin Main Street Program website: http://www.wedc.org/mainstreet or contact Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership Director at (920) 322-2006 or firstname.lastname@example.org.