Indiana communities interested in becoming part of a state-run downtown revitalization and preservation initiative can sign up.
The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs is accepting applications for new organizations to join the Indiana Main Street program, which features different tiers of engagement and other improvements. Applications for new organizations to join the program are due March 5, 2021.
The state stopped accepting new applicants in 2019 to reevaluate the program.
“It was crucial for the Indiana Main Street program to align with national standards and other state programs, which is why OCRA took the time to thoroughly review and research improvements,” said Matt Crouch, interim executive director of OCRA. “Implementing a new levels structure allows OCRA to better serve and support communities that are actively working the Main Street Approach, while also cultivating their capacity for future growth.”
Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, who oversees OCRA, said after consulting with the Indiana Main Street Council and National Main Street Center, OCRA decided to adopt the Indiana Main Street Levels. The system allows member communities to engage in long-range planning and downtown revitalization at three levels:
- OCRA’s Downtown Affiliate Network: organizations that lack capacity/resources to work the four points holistically, prefer to specialize in event-related activities only, or lack the physical/historical capacity necessary to qualify as a Main Street;
- Indiana Accredited Main Street: working the four points effectively but may lack a paid staff person and/or a paid membership to National Main Street Center; and/or
- Nationally Accredited Main Street: meeting all MSA’s accreditation standards.
As part of the reorganization, current Main Street organizations will be placed into a particular level with the guidance and approval from OCRA.
Communities will then be able to progress to a different level by completing a membership level advancement application, the state said. Each level is accompanied by different requirements, incentives and benchmarks.
The Indiana Main Street program has been helping communities revitalize the economy, appearance, and image of their downtown commercial districts using the National Main Street Center’s Main Street Approach since 1985.
Main Street is an incremental approach to revitalization built around a community’s unique heritage and attributes. The state program assists communities develop and implement their own strategies to foster long-term economic growth and pride in their downtowns.
The state said current Main Street organizations will be notified of their level placement Nov. 17.
There are 128 Main Street organizations in Indiana, spread across 81 counties. The Northwest and North Central Indiana communities participating in the program include: La Porte, Michigan City, Highland, Bremen, Culver, Plymouth, New Carlisle, North Liberty, Francesville, Remington, Rensselaer, Goshen and Nappanee.