The Application to become a designated Texas Main Street community in 2022 is now closed. Applications are accepted on the last working day of July annually. Please contact us if you have questions about becoming a Main Street community and accessing our services.
The Application link HERE is from the most recent application cycle. It remains accessible as a reference in case your community is interested in a future application. A Presentation about becoming a Main Street community is available for viewing. An applicant from a community of less than 50,000 in population applies as a small-city program through city government. An urban program with more than 50,000 population may choose to apply either under local government or through a stand-alone non-profit. Information about current participants can be found here on this website.
Each year, the Texas Historical Commission may select up to five Texas cities or neighborhood commercial districts for official Main Street designation. There are many reasons to consider becoming a Main Street community. At the local level, the Main Street operational model can sustain an effective, economically impactful downtown revitalization effort over time. For 40 years, the Texas Historical Commission has supported preservation-based downtown revitalization through its Texas Main Street Program. Designated communities receive a range of services from the Texas Main Street Program (TMSP) staff. This includes professional expertise provided to the program, and downtown property and business owners in the areas of design, preservation, downtown-specific economic development, organizational management and small business development, as well as being able to showcase your districts and assets on our proprietary website DowntownTX.org. Designation also allows access to considerable additional resources through the state office as well as powerful Texas and national Main Street networks. There are currently 88 officially designated Main Street communities in Texas. They are communities of all sizes across the state.
Programs pay a nominal annual fee. Benefits include:
- A full range of design services from a professionally-trained and licensed staff to help downtown property owners undertake effective rehabilitation, restoration, adaptive re-use and infill projects as well as reimagining public spaces in the district.
- Comprehensive technical assistance to further economic development in the district.
- Strategic planning, program capacity building and organizational management for the Main Street organization.
- Individualized, on-site training for Main Street managers, boards and other Main Street participants. (currently virtual in 2020 and 2021)
- Statewide, Main Street-specific trainings/professional development opportunities annually for participant communities (currently virtual in 2020 and 2021), plus an annual downtown revitalization conference in partnership with the Texas Downtown Association, the national Main Street Now conference and the Texas Historical Commission's Real Places.
- Product development, such as design reports for specific properties, market analysis and strategic planning reports to help drive the Plan of Work and other technical reports based upon the community’s individual needs.
- Access to resources for professional development and assistance with downtown issues.
- Assistance to Main Street merchants and local programs to support branding and marketing efforts.
- Access for non-entitlement communities to a Main Street-specific pool of improvement funds through the Main Street Improvements fund of the Texas Department of Agriculture. Texas Main Street communities have received almost $20 million from this program since 1993.
To apply, a community must agree to hire a full-time Main Street Director, adequately budget for the local program, and show the following:
I. Historic commercial fabric and historic character—The historic significance/fabric of the proposed Main Street area and the interest in and commitment to historic preservation.
II. Community and private sector support and organizational capacity—Demonstrates community and private sector support for the program as well as the capability of the applicant to successfully implement the Main Street Program.
III. Support and financial capacity—Demonstrates the financial capability to employ a full-time manager, fund a local Main Street Program and support downtown-related projects.
IV. Physical capacity and business environment—The cohesiveness, distinctiveness and variety of business activity conducted in the proposed Main Street Program area.
V. Demonstrated need—The need for the Main Street Program.
VI.Geographic distribution and discretionary— Extra points can be added for underserved location.