Frequently Asked Questions

What is the National Main Street Program?

  • The Main Street program is designed to help communities develop a comprehensive revitalization plan for their downtown. Using the National Main Street Center Network membership program connects local programs to other cities throughout the nation, which is a valuable resource in the development and renovation process.

Mission of Main Street Athens?

  • The Mission of Main Street Athens is to create a sustainable town center economy that contributes to the communities’ health while retaining the unique history and culture of our downtown.

Vision of Main Street Athens

  • By 2027, Downtown Athens shall be a prosperous, popular, successful business, tourism, and residential center with varied attractions (restaurants, housing, tourism, businesses, and entertainment facilities). Downtown Athens will be well known as one of the best (vital, vibrant, prosperous) downtowns in the region.
Four Point Plan of National Main Street Program:

Economic Vitality

Economic restructuring strengthens the community’s existing economic assets while diversifying its economic base. Successful communities accomplish this by evaluating how to retain and expand successful businesses to provide a balanced commercial mix, sharpening the competitiveness and merchandising skills of business owners, and attracting new businesses that the market can support. Many Main Street programs also achieve success through creative reuse of historic properties. Converting unused or underused commercial space into economically productive property also helps boost the profitability of the district. The goal is to build a commercial district that responds to the needs of today’s consumers while maintaining the community’s historic character.


Design means getting Main Street into top physical shape and creating a safe, inviting environment for shoppers, workers, and visitors while preserving a place’s historic character. Successful Main Streets take advantage of the visual opportunities inherent in a commercial district by directing attention to all of its physical elements: public and private buildings, storefronts, signs, public spaces, parking areas, street furniture, public art, landscaping, merchandising, window displays, and promotional materials. An appealing atmosphere, created through the attention to all of these visual elements, conveys a positive message about the commercial district and what it has to offer. Popular design activities also include instilling good maintenance practices in the commercial district, enhancing the district’s physical appearance through the rehabilitation of historic buildings, encouraging appropriate new construction, developing sensitive design management systems, educating business and property owners about design quality, and long-term planning.


Promotion takes many forms, but the goal is to create a positive image that will renew community pride and tell the Main Street story to citizens and the surrounding region. The purpose of promotions committee is to develop techniques and tools that will rekindle the vitality of the community. Promotions communicate the commercial district’s unique characteristics, its cultural traditions, architecture, and history and activities to shoppers, investors, potential business and property owners, and visitors. The goal is to create and market the Main Street message.


Organization establishes consensus and cooperation by building partnerships among the various groups that have a stake in the commercial district. The most effective Main Street programs get everyone working toward the same goal. With this level of collaboration, your Main Street program can provide effective, ongoing management and advocacy for your downtown or neighborhood business district. Through volunteer recruitment and collaboration with partners representing a broad cross section of the community, the program can incorporate a wide range of perspectives into its efforts. The function of this committee will assist with developing a strategic plan that will identify the key stakeholders, the target audience and resources to support the program.
The Refreshed Main Street Approach

It’s helpful to think of the Main Street Approach consisting of three tightly integrated components:

  1. Community visioning and marketing understanding (the inputs)
  2. Transformation strategies (implemented using the Four Points)
  3. Implementation and measurement (the outcomes)
Community Development has to take place before you have strong economic development!

Allow Main Street to become a part of the main stream of the community!