Main Street FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about the Main Street Approach

How does the Main Street Program work locally?

Main Street programs are locally driven, funded, organized, and run. They are independent nonprofits or city agencies located in the community and are usually affiliated with the state, city, or regional coordinating Main Street organization and a network of other Main Street organizations within the state. The statewide or citywide coordinating Main Street organization generally has an application process through which a community can be designated as a Main Street program. The coordinating organizations provide direct technical services, networking, and training opportunities to their affiliated programs. 

The Raytown Main Street Association was formed in 2008 by a small group of civic minded downtown supporters. We are a 501©3 not-for-profit organization. We receive no funding from the City of Raytown; all operating funds come through memberships and donations. 

Who should be involved in the local Main Street program?

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 residents all benefit from a healthy local economy and from a historic core that reflects the community's heritage and personality. Sound partnerships are crucial to the Main Street program's success. In fact, a 1988 study of successful downtown revitalization programs in America, conducted by the National Main Street Center and the Urban Land Institute, found that programs funded primarily by local sources were much more likely to succeed than those that relied heavily on state or federal funds. It is also important for both the public and private sectors to support the program financially, thereby demonstrating their commitment to its goals.

How do we apply the Main Street Four-Point Approach® to our community?

The National Main Street Center offers a variety of resources and publications to help guide local revitalization efforts. It also sponsors the National Main Streets Conference that offers excellent learning and networking opportunities. We network with and learn from other Main Street communities' experiences by joining the National Main Street Network. NMSC also provides consulting services to provide direct assistance.

Am I the right person for this program? How can I get others interested?

Your Main Street's revitalization starts with you! Main Street programs around the nation are started and operated by ordinary, concerned citizens who work with others in the community to reach a common goal. 

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: merchants, businesses, and the public. The success of the Main Street program over the years lies in the fact that it is a local initiative, both organizationally and financially. When there is local buy-in, people care more about the success of the program and become more involved.

How long does a local Main Street program last?

Commercial revitalization is an ongoing process. Just as shopping centers and malls have full-time staff that work constantly to ensure proper leasing, management, and marketing, downtown and neighborhood commercial districts need ongoing attention, too. To ensure continuing economic success, Main Street programs are ongoing.

I’m a member of the Chamber of Commerce, how is Main Street different? 

The Chamber of Commerce is a vital resource for business networking and education. As a 501C6, they are defined by the IRS as business league. The focus of the Chamber is on ALL businesses located within the community.

Raytown Main Street, although concerned about the community as a whole, focuses their primary energies on Downtown revitalization and supporting the businesses there. Main Street recognizes the importance of a vital Downtown district as the heart, soul and image of our town, not only for our own citizens, but for visitors as well.

My Business or home is not in Downtown, can I still be involved? 

Absolutely! If you like the idea of having a vibrant Downtown where you can eat, shop, and play; we invite your participation through membership and volunteering. 

Main Street Reinvestment Statistics

Main Street Reinvestment StatisticsMain Street's Economic Impact

Historic Preservation = Economic Development
The cumulative success of the Main Street Approach ® and Main Street programs on the local level has earned Main Street the reputation as one of the most powerful economic revitalization tools in the nation. The National Main Street Center conducts research to document this by annually collecting statistical information on the preservation, revitalization, and economic activities in local Main Street programs throughout the country. These estimates are based on cumulative statistics gathered from 1980 to December 31, 2014, for all designated Main Street communities nationwide. 2015 reinvestment statistics coming soon!