Main Street is a national movement designed to revitalize and strengthen local business communities and neighborhoods. Centreville is one of 26 Main Street programs in Maryland. Nationally, Main Street is a network of more than 2,000 community programs that includes 37 statewide programs, seven citywide programs, and two regional programs.
The phrase has been used to describe everything from our nostalgic past to our current economic woes, but when we talk about Main Street®, we are thinking of real places doing real work to revitalize their economies and preserve their character. Specifically, Main Street® is three things: a proven strategy for revitalization, a powerful network of linked communities, and a national support program that leads the field.
Roots are from a In 1977, concerned about continuing threats to traditional commercial architecture in economically declining downtowns across America, the National Trust for Historic Preservation launched the Main Street Project. The three-year demonstration project was designed to study the reasons so many downtowns were dying, identify the factors affecting downtown’s health, and develop a comprehensive revitalization strategy to save historic commercial buildings.
Responding to the steep decline in the economic health of American downtowns in the 1970s, the National Trust for Historic Preservation developed the Main Street Project in 1977. For the first three years, the project focused on preserving downtown buildings that were facing demolition. The pilot project led to the creation of the Main Street Four-Point Approach, which focuses on organization, promotion, design, and economic restructuring. What evolved was a belief that to preserve historic buildings, the economic health of downtowns must first be stabilized and then improved. Between 1980 and 1983, Pennsylvania was among six states chosen to further develop this revitalization strategy.
The Main Street program is implemented through five working committees:
- Design: Architectural buffs, artists, and preservationists will enjoy this committee. Enhancing the physical appearance of the commercial district by rehabilitating historic buildings, encouraging supportive new construction, developing sensitive design management systems, and long-term planning are the types of projects developed by this committee.
- Organization: This is the administrative work horse for the program, bringing together the many groups and individuals who have a role in the revitalization process, such as merchants, public officials, bankers, business and civic groups. Members of this committee act as ambassadors to promote the Main Street program as well as recruit volunteers, plan and fund- and friend-raise. The goal of the committee is to build consensus and cooperation among all the stakeholders.
- Promotion: This committee acts as the marketing arm of the program by promoting the commercial district’s assets to customers, potential investors, new businesses, local citizens, and visitors. Sample activities include planning special events, and developing advertising and retail promotional plans.
- Economic Restructuring: If you are a numbers and idea person this may be a perfect committee for you. Strengthening the district’s existing economic base while finding ways to expand it to meet new opportunities and challenges from outlying development are the goals for this committee. Projects may include evaluating the wants and needs of the business community as well as finding ways to use vacant or unused properties to add to the business community’s profitability.
- Clean, Safe, and Green: If you have a passion for safe, attractive, clean, well-maintained streetscapes, then this committee may be a good fit for you. Beautification and recycling projects are but two possible focus areas.
To volunteer on a Centreville Main Street committee or to learn more, please contact Carol D’Agostino at (410) 758-1180 or MainStreet@TownofCentreville.org. To learn more about the Main Street business development strategies, visit www.preservationnation.org/main-street.
The Heritage Trail of Centreville
The Town Council of Centreville welcomes you and invites you to tour our town using this map and learn some of our great past history. Download a copy of the Heritage Trail Walking Map of Centreville.