National Main Street Program Accreditation is a partnership between coordinating Main Street programs and the National Trust Main Street Center to establish standards of performance for local Main Street programs and provide accreditation to those that meet our standards. The National Accreditation designation process evaluates established commercial district revitalization programs according to 10 basic performance standards.
These standards provide benchmarks and guidelines on the way an organization should be functioning and serve as incentives for improvement.
To provide local and national visibility to local Main Street programs that understand and fully utilize the Main Street Four-Point Approach and eight Main Street principles. To continue to evolve organizationally to meet new challenges. To provide national standards for performance for local Main Street programs. To provide realistic goals and tangible incentives for local Main Street programs who do not yet meet the criteria for national recognition.
National Main Street Program Accreditation is designed to reward organizations and help them garner attention within their communities. Accredited programs promote their designation locally and are featured through their listings on the National Main Street website and in the National Trust's Preservation Atlas. However, the ultimate benefit is a stronger and better functioning organization.
The National Trust Main Street Center offers a comprehensive commercial district revitalization strategy that has been widely successful in towns and cities nationwide. Described below are the four points of the Main Street approach which work together to build a sustainable and complete community revitalization effort.
Coincidentally, the four points of the Main Street approach correspond with the four forces of real estate value, which are social, political, physical, and economic.
Organizations involves getting everyone working toward the same goal and assembling the appropriate human and financial resources to implement a Main Street revitalization program. A governing board and standing committees make up the fundamental organizational structure of the volunteer-driven program.
Volunteers are coordinated and supported by a paid program director as well. This structure not only divides the workload and clearly delineates responsibilities, but also builds consensus and cooperation among the various stakeholders.
Promotion sells a positive image of the commercial district and encourages consumers and investors to live, work, shop, play and invest in the Main Street district.
By marketing a district's unique characteristics to residents, investors, business owners, and visitors, an effective promotional strategy forges a positive image through advertising, retail promotional activity, special events, and marketing campaigns carried out by local volunteers.
These activities improve consumer and investor confidence in the district and encourage commercial activity and investment in the area.
Economic Restructuring strengthens a community's existing economic assets while expanding and diversifying its economic base. The Main Street program helps sharpen the competitiveness of existing business owners and recruits compatible new businesses and new economic uses to build a commercial district that responds to today's consumers' needs.
Converting unused or underused commercial space into economically productive property also helps boost the profitability of the district.
Design means getting Main Street into top physical shape. Capitalizing on its best assets such as historic buildings and
pedestrian-oriented street's is just part of the story. An inviting atmosphere, created through attractive window
displays, parking areas, building improvements, street furniture, signs, sidewalks, street lights, and landscaping,
conveys a positive visual message about the commercial district and what it has to offer.
Design activities also include instilling good maintenance practices in the commercial district, enhancing the physical appearance of the commercial district by rehabilitating historic buildings, encouraging appropriate new construction, developing sensitive design management systems, and long-term planning.