I work as a planner in an area periphery to a big city (sort of like how Brooklyn nestles NYC, except a lot smaller).
We've been trying out the Main Streets program in two of our commercial districts and they've had varying, but improving success at revitalization. However, as households, firms, and, yes, municipal governments need to tighten the belt in these gloomy times, we're looking at alternative means for funding this entity.
Here are the options we've looked at and why they seem inadequate:
1) The City - we understand the benefits to having the programs, but while most Main Streets programs nearby receive total funding, we're no NYC, and our budget is shrinking.
2) The State - they expect to be cutting back budgets as well
3) Area businesses - we don't have a large concentration of large corporate entities and smaller shops see supporting it as another tax increase.
4) Self funded - fund raising, grant writing, etc do bring in some money (25%?), but no where near the type of transition we're trying to do.
Does anyone have creative practices for making a Main Streets organization more self sufficient?