Becoming a Main Street Community

The current application cycle is now closed for communities applying for program entry in January 2023. However, the information provided below describes the application process for last year. The new application cycle may have a slightly different process; this information to be posted at a later date.

Please read more about local program affiliation with Main Street America. Note that local communities participating in the Texas Main Street Program are required to hire and oversee a full-time Main Street manager, provide an adequate programmatic budget for Main Street activity, maintain an active Main Street board, and sustain community support for revitalization initiatives. 

Considering the Main Street Approach for your community? Take a look at the information provided below and consider how your downtown could benefit from a renewed revitalization approach. 

Main Street Application Process

San Marcos

Completed applications are evaluated independently by members of the Main Street Interagency Council, comprised of representatives from TMSP staff and various state agencies. In the fall, the governor-appointed members of the Texas Historical Commission make decisions regarding final designations.  

An applicant from a community of less than 50,000 in population applies as a Small City program through its city government. An Urban City applicant (more than 50,000 population) may choose to apply either under local government or through a stand-alone nonprofit organization. Each year, the Texas Historical Commission may select up to five Texas cities or neighborhood commercial districts for official Main Street designation.

A copy of the 2023 Texas Main Street application is available below as a reference for communities who want to begin preparation for the 2024 application cycle or want to learn more about the application process as a whole. The application document includes submission instructions, tips for a successful application, and selection criteria. The application packet includes a list of selection criteria used to review submissions.

If you have any questions in the application process, please call the Texas Main Street Program offices main line at 512-463-6092 or email the Texas Main Street Program state coordinator, Amy Hammons

Learn more about the Texas Main Street Program and local participants—even new communities—benefit from this nationally renowned methodology breathes new life into Texas downtowns!

Local, State, and National Network

For 40 years, the Texas Historical Commission (THC) has supported preservation-based downtown revitalization through its Texas Main Street Program (TMSP). Designated communities receive a range of services from the TMSP staff. Services include professional expertise provided to the local program––along with its downtown property and business owners––in the areas of design, preservation, downtown-specific economic development, organizational management, and small business development. Participating local programs may highlight districts and assets on THC’s proprietary website

TMSP staff also connect Main Street stakeholders to the wide range of services provided by THC preservation specialists. THC programs provide services that include assistance with regulatory compliance, finding preservation funding options for specific preservation needs, and identifying honorific opportunities that highlight what is best about your community.

ElginAlong with support at the state level, the Main Street designation also allows access to substantial downtown revitalization resources through the state and national Main Street community network. Currently there are 89 designated Main Street communities in Texas and approximately 2,000 Main Street communities nationwide.

Main Street America™ works with communities to build healthy downtowns by establishing a sense of place based on the distinctive assets within each community. More information at Main Street America.

Benefits for Texas Main Street Network Communities

Participating local programs pay a nominal annual fee to access the following benefits:

  • Basic and comprehensive technical assistance to further economic development in the district.
  • Program capacity building and planning for the Main Street organization.
  • Access to resources for professional development and assistance with downtown issues.
  • Virtual and on-site training for Main Street managers, boards, and other program participants.
  • Main Street-specific professional development opportunities for participant communities, plus downtown revitalization and preservation education through the Texas Historical Commission's Real Places conference.
  • McKinneyProduct development based on need and staff workload, such as design schematics and reports for specific properties, market analysis for downtown districts, and strategic planning reports based upon a community’s individual needs.
  • A range of design services to help downtown property owners undertake effective rehabilitation, adaptive re-use, and infill projects, as well as reimagining public spaces in the district. 
  • 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.