Created in 2002, the DC Main Streets program fosters retail investment in DC by providing services and funding to help communities retain and recruit businesses, improve commercial properties and streetscapes, and attract consumers.
Through the DC Main Streets program, DSLBD provides comprehensive technical and financial assistance to build the capacity of neighborhood nonprofit organizations (i.e. DC Main Street organizations) to assist businesses and coordinate sustainable community-driven revitalization efforts in their neighborhoods. The local DC Main Street commercial district revitalization efforts are organized and led by local volunteers and community development professionals. DC Main Street program grant recipients are competitively selected.
DC Main Streets Program and the Main Street Model
The DC Main Streets is the citywide coordinating program authorized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to administer a Main Street program in the District of Columbia. The Main Street Four Point Approach is a nationally proven model, which includes work in the following areas of:
1. organization of commercial revitalization efforts (e.g., developing and sustaining financial and volunteer resources)
2. promotion of neighborhood commercial district (e.g., branding campaigns and special events) and individual businesses operating therein;
3. design affecting the physical environment of the commercial district (e.g., clean teams and streetscape improvements) and the appearance business storefronts and interiors; and,
4. economic restructuring 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. For example, DC Commercial Clean Team activities include: maintenance of commercial corridors; enhanced litter clean-up efforts through the removal of debris from streets, sidewalks and storefronts; and, removal of graffiti and illegal sign postings within the designated clean team service-delivery area.
Current Local Main Streets
Organizations seeking to operate local Main Street programs in the District of Columbia must approved by DSLBD and meet the National Main Street Program accreditation criteria.
The active DC Main Streets programs are: