DC Main Streets is a comprehensive program that promotes the revitalization of business corridors in the District of Columbia. Created in 2002 through the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Main Streets serves as the citywide coordinating program that provides services and funding for the 18 Main Streets found in the District of Columbia. Main Streets' mission is to support the traditional retail corridors in the District. DC Main Streets is a Main Street America™ Coordinating Program. As a Main Street America™ Coordinating Program, DC Main Streets helps to lead a powerful, grassroots network consisting of over 40 Coordinating Programs and over 1,200 neighborhoods and communities across the country committed to creating high-quality places and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development.
Though our 18 independent, nonprofit neighborhood Main Street programs, we revitalize communities by retaining and recruiting businesses, improving commercial properties and streetscapes, and attracting consumers. Leaders in these neighborhood organizations assist businesses and coordinate sustainable community-driven revitalization efforts in their neighborhoods.
As a result of the DC Main Streets program, the District has seen an increase in new businesses and jobs. In addition, facade improvements and building rehabilitation projects have upgraded the image of the commercial corridors, while marketing and branding efforts have resulted in additional exposure and increased market share.
In 2018, DC Main Streets programs generated the following economic activity:
- Net Jobs Created: 450
- Net New Businesses: 52
- Rehabilitation Projects Completed: 72
- Public Improvement Projects Completed: 4
- New Construction Projects Completed: 10
Since the DC Main Streets Program was created, over 900 businesses and over 6,500 jobs have been created, and over $300 million have been invested in public improvements.
DC Main Streets builds on the Main Street Approach® that was developed by the National Main Street Center in 1980 to assist commercial revitalization efforts nationwide. The Approach consists of four points which work together to build a sustainable and complete community revitalization effort in the following areas:
- Organization of commercial revitalization efforts (e.g., developing and sustaining financial and volunteer resources)
- Promotion of neighborhood commercial districts (e.g., branding campaigns and special events) and individual businesses operating therein;
- Designs affecting the physical environment of the commercial district (e.g., clean teams and streetscape improvements) and the appearance of business storefronts and interiors;
- Economic vitality including business retention, recruitment, and expansion
The approach includes an underlying historic preservation ethic and provides local organizations with a mechanism to manage their neighborhood commercial districts and a structure to implement commercial revitalization activities that will achieve the stakeholders’ goals for the commercial district.
DC Main Street Programs
Each DC Main Streets program is organized and led by local volunteers and community development professionals. Each program has different operating structures as defined in their by-laws and operating procedure documents. By grant agreement with DSLBD , each program must have:
- Broad-based community support for the commercial district revitalization process, with strong support from both the public and private sectors;
- Well defined vision and mission statements relevant to community conditions and to the local Main Street program's organizational stage;
- A comprehensive project implementation plan and an adequate operating budget to support it;
- An operational board;
- A full-time staff person dedicated to program implementation;
- Committees staffed by volunteers that align with the Main Street Four Point Approach.
The 2018 active and accredited DC Main Streets programs are:
- Barracks Row Main Street
- District Bridges
- Destination Congress Heights
- Eastern Market Main Street
- Georgetown Main Street
- Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets
- H Street Main Street
- Lower Georgia Avenue Main Street
- Minnesota Avenue Main Street
- North Capitol Main Street
- Rhode Island Avenue Main Street
- Shaw Main Streets
- Tenleytown Main Street
- The Parks Main Street
- Uptown Main Street
- Van Ness Main Streets
- Ward 7 Business Partnership
- Woodley Park Main Street