In 1980, as part of the national roll out of a then-new concept for the revitalization of historic downtowns, THC Commissioner Anice B. Read introduced the Main Street program to Texas, and helped our state become one of the first state Main Street coordinating programs in the nation. Five years after creating the Texas Main Street Program (TMSP), Mrs. Read helped found the Texas Downtown Association, now known as Texas Downtown (TXDT), a non-profit membership association dedicated to downtown development and revitalization.
Historic downtowns set the stage to showcase the unique heritage of a community and serve as the most visible indicator of community pride and economic health. Downtown historic buildings are prime locations for the establishment of unique entrepreneurial businesses and also can be tourism attractors, all of which add to the community’s sales tax collections and property values. Today, massive, look-alike retail centers permeate the national landscape fuel our mission to save and use historic spaces that illustrate the character and resilience of Texas.
Working through Transformation Strategies and the Four Points under the Main Street Approach™, local Main Street programs rejuvenate commercial downtown districts. Local programs work with property and business owners in designated local Main Street districts to steward best practices related to downtown revitalization and historic preservation. Local programs receive pro-bono assistance from the Texas Main Street program staff in the areas of organizational management and program capacity building, as well as economic and small-business development, design, and historic preservation.
Texas Main Street Program (TMSP)
The TMSP will positively impact the economic vitality and thoughtful preservation of important historic resources in Texas. In addition, our work with local communities will help achieve the goals of the Texas Historical Commission. Through guidance from the TMSP, designated local Main Street programs will achieve thoughtfully designed, sensitively preserved, and economically vibrant town centers.
The mission of the TMSP is to provide technical expertise, resources, and support for Texas Main Street communities in accordance with the Main Street Approach™ of organization, economic vitality, design, and promotion. Using a team-centered approach, we strive to provide highly effective, individualized services to our 89 designated programs to help them reach their revitalization and preservation goals.
TMSP Core Values
We believe that a community’s unique historic resources are valuable, and that the appropriate preservation of these resources contributes to the community’s overall economic, social, and cultural vitality. We also believe that a sound organization—one that seeks to cultivate volunteers, foster organizational partnerships, and create inclusive communities—is necessary for true transformation. Embracing these beliefs, the staff of the TMSP shall exhibit great passion and enthusiasm for assisting local stakeholders as they revitalize their historic town centers. We view ourselves as public servants working in harmony with local communities as they strive to meet their objectives.
Main Street America’s Four Point Approach
A program's work should be structured around the Four Points under the The Main Street Approach:
Organization: Partnerships are essential for successful preservation-based downtown revitalization. Through a solid Main Street structure, many groups that share an interest in the health of downtown come together to work toward an agreed-upon vision for downtown and thus, for the community.
Promotion: This aspect of the Approach is utilized to market a unified, quality image of the business district as the center of activities, goods and services.
Design: Capitalizing on the downtown’s unique physical assets and heritage, design activities such as building rehabilitations, utilization of preservation-based tools and ordinances and effective planning practices help to create an active district and maintain its authenticity.
Economic Vitality: In this area, a targeted program is developed to identify new market opportunities for the commercial district, find new uses for historic commercial buildings, and stimulate investment in property.
Today, there are 89 official Texas Main Street communities across Texas that range in population from less than 1,500 to more than 300,000. Cumulatively, designated Texas Main Street communities have reported significant reinvestment into their historic downtowns.
Local Main Street programs have reported more than $5 billion of overall reinvestment since the TMSP was established by the Texas Historical Commission. About half of this amount was generated from private investment in Texas' Main Street districts. Additionally, Main Street cities have added more than 48,000 jobs and 12,000 small businesses to the Texas economy. These reinvestments show the significant economic development impact from historic preservation efforts. TMSP staff work with designated Main Street communities to help achieve downtown revitalization goals.
There are thousands of participating Main Street communities across the nation in 44 states. More information about the nationwide effort can be found at the website of Main Street America, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
For more information about the Texas Main Street program, please contact the Texas Main Street state coordinator, Amy Hammons or call 512-463-5758.