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Thread: "Main Street" program advice

  1. #1
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    "Main Street" program advice

    I am working on a project for a class discussing the Main Streets initiative.

    Can anyone direct me as to a city or community where it hasn't worked?

    Overall, it looks to be pretty successful - I saw a couple of posts here about how stringent they are about the four points approach of the program, but I can't find a city where it actually didn't work to some degree.

    Thanks for the help.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    That's going to be hard information to come by. If the programs don't work out, they usually fold and I doubt anyone keeps record of that. I was involved in a Main Street initiative a couple years ago where they were starting inner-city neighborhood Main Streets and 90% were really effective and the ones that weren't didn't even get off the ground.

    Not all communities that use the Main Street program are certified or affiliated with a state program. Some communities use the 4 point approach to help them organize their downtown development efforts and use it as a guideline.....but they usually aren't as effective as the programs that are run under state guidelines.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    I would suggest the city of Port Huron, MI... while it may have a beautiful and historic downtown with an unbeatable geographic location, and great natural amenities, development along the main street continues to fail.

    I wouldn't say that this is entirely due to the economy of the region because even during the 1990's when the SE Michigan region was moving along pretty well, Port Huron was still in the same situation that it is in now.

    Here is a link to the Port Huron Main Street Program.

    Of course, my experience with their main street is entirely ground level and I couldn't tell you a single thing about what is going on there behind the scenes.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

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    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    Washington DC has used the approach in several neighborhoods with differing levels of success.

    Look in Arizona. Some Main Street programs are doing well while others are floundering. I cannot tell you which ones but if you call the state director with the department of commerce she could help you out.
    "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shinseki

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    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Hyannis, Massachusetts tried it and it failed miserably (I guess, I saw a talk on it last year at an APA chapter meeting) and so they started their own Business Improvement District and it is considered a leader for these types of organizations - so I would call them

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I suppose it depends on what you mean by "failed." I know many programs that have dropped out of Main Street because of some of the (state program) requirements. One of the things Main Street has going for it is that most of the state programs are selective. They screen for the most viable candidates, so the failure rate tends to be low.
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    New Richmond, Ohio http://www.newrichmond.org/. I understand that the cost/benefit was not to their advantage, so they dropped out after a couple of years in the program. And now focus on grant writing combined with an active business assoc./historic preservation comm. Comparatively the little town gets a lot of grant money and has had quite a bit of success in the past few years with private rehab in the historic area of the town.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    I went to the Main Street conference in Indy in 2001 and if I recall, the city just up the road Anderson, IN has a failed program (miserable failure if I recall).
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post
    I suppose it depends on what you mean by "failed." I know many programs that have dropped out of Main Street because of some of the (state program) requirements. One of the things Main Street has going for it is that most of the state programs are selective. They screen for the most viable candidates, so the failure rate tends to be low.
    Thanks. I gathered that from all that I have read - it seems like you can be accepted into the program unless they're pretty certain it will work well.

    Quote Originally posted by Xer commish View post
    New Richmond, Ohio http://www.newrichmond.org/. I understand that the cost/benefit was not to their advantage, so they dropped out after a couple of years in the program. And now focus on grant writing combined with an active business assoc./historic preservation comm. Comparatively the little town gets a lot of grant money and has had quite a bit of success in the past few years with private rehab in the historic area of the town.
    I'll check that out - thanks.

    Quote Originally posted by WSU MUP Student View post
    I would suggest the city of Port Huron, MI... while it may have a beautiful and historic downtown with an unbeatable geographic location, and great natural amenities, development along the main street continues to fail.

    I wouldn't say that this is entirely due to the economy of the region because even during the 1990's when the SE Michigan region was moving along pretty well, Port Huron was still in the same situation that it is in now.

    Here is a link to the Port Huron Main Street Program.

    Of course, my experience with their main street is entirely ground level and I couldn't tell you a single thing about what is going on there behind the scenes.
    Thanks, I'm from Detroit - I don't know why I didn't think of that. Nice Kwame quote, by the way...
    Last edited by Gedunker; 26 Jun 2008 at 2:33 PM.

  10. #10
    I've worked for a Main Streets program in another city and currently am on the Economic Restructuring committee for my town. From what I can tell, the program doesn't fail because it takes a lot of commitment with steering committees, etc. to get the program going.

    The one in our town went on hiatus for a while- because the only employee is typically the director, when they leave its hard to replace them.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by littlemonkey View post
    Thanks, I'm from Detroit - I don't know why I didn't think of that. Nice Kwame quote, by the way...
    WSU ain't the only one with a Kwame quote. Mine of course is a lot older and reminds me of what I like about the area.

    I would support WSU's comments on Port Huron. It has all the right elements including public buildings and a college, but for some reason folks would rather drive several miles and shop at a strip mall than support stores withing walking distance.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  12. #12
    Cyburbian daytondevelopment's avatar
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    Where I am currently employed (Marysville- Union County, Ohio) we applied to join the Main Street program in 2007 - and was rejected because we do not have a full-time DT Manager (we currently do not have the funds). Everything else was good to go (we've been established since '04).

    We apply the four point approach and it seems to be doing quite well - so I wouldn't call it a failure, but just a minor set-back.
    Business Development Manager
    Union County, Ohio Economic Development Partnership

  13. #13
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Not really an example of a failed program, but the author of this report might be able to help you find some:

    A Case Study of the San Marcos Main Street Program

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  14. #14
    Cyburbian GISgal's avatar
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    Mishicot, Wisconsin had a nice program running for a few years. It fizzled rather than failed.
    “I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.” - Thomas Edison

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