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Maine Development Foundation

Selection Process

Main Street Maine

Main Street Maine communities are selected by the Maine Downtown Center through a statewide competitive process during which they are judged on five separate criteria:
(1) Local funding commitment
(2) Breadth of support
(3) Existence of a vision and work plan for downtown revitalization
(4) Existing capacity
(5) Likelihood of demonstrable change

The Maine Downtown Center selects towns and cities for the Main Street Maine program that are able to demonstrate success.

A new application round for the Main Street Maine program is contingent on funding to support service delivery.

The list of services (below) provided to designate Main Street Maine communities is subject to change.

Services Provided by MDC to Main Street Communities

Downtown Manager Selection Assistance and Manager Orientation
To ensure you get the very best start, it is required that the MDC be a part of your manager hiring process.

Manager Orientation
Downtown Managers will meet with the State Program Director for orientation and introduction to resources available at the Maine Downtown Center, the Main Street Four-Point Approach® and their roles and responsibilities as a Manager.

Start Up Library
The Maine Downtown Center supplies Main Street Maine communities with a number of National Main Street resources to help local leaders and volunteers learn the basics of downtown revitalization.

Reconnaissance Visit
The Maine Downtown Center staff will visit each Main Street Maine community for a day to assist with an informal needs assessment, to help organize the downtown program and meet with the community at large to explain program and importance of downtown revitalization.

Board Roles and Responsibilities Training
The State Program Director and/or consultants will work with each downtown organization’s Board members to clearly review the role of a nonprofit Board, and establish the role of the non-profit Board and the role of the staff and committees.

Main Street Four-Point Approach® Training
The Downtown Center staff and experts in Design, Organization, Economic Restructuring and Organization will conduct a training for downtown Boards, committee volunteers and local directors that will include an overview of the Main Street Four-Point Approach® and the roles, and the basics of downtown revitalization.

Resource Team Visit
An interdisciplinary team with expert representatives will be assembled to address the needs of each Main Street Maine community. Each resource team spends 2-4 days in the downtown meeting with community leaders, observing, and analyzing local conditions. A realistic assessment will be made of the city or town’s capacities and opportunities that will provide the basis for the program’s ongoing and future work plans. Submission of a first year work plan is required prior to the Resource Team visit.

Quarterly Manager Meetings
Downtown Managers from each Main Street Maine community will meet with each other and Maine Downtown Center staff four times a year to share ideas, discuss problems and receive additional training.

First Year Program Review
At the end of the first year of a Main Street Maine program, the State Program Director and/or consultants will work with the Manager and Board to review the program’s first year of work. Assistance in developing a second year work plan may be given.

On-Site Assistance As Needed
The Maine Downtown Center staff provides on-site assistance for Boards and Main Street Maine managers, when necessary, to deal with local issues and problems. This can involve special strategy sessions, goal setting, committee training, etc.

Specialized Technical Assistance and Training
Technical assistance provided in second and third years of the organization’s program are intensive, but less structured and will vary depending on the community’s needs. Manager and volunteers meetings and workshops and ongoing technical assistance will continue. Special visits to address a particular local topic of concern will also be offered.

Conference Attendance Sponsorship – State and National
The Maine Downtown Center pays registration fees to the state Downtown Conference and the National Main Street conference for two people for three years.

Membership in the National Main Street Network
The Maine Downtown Center pays for your membership for three years to the National Main Street Center. Benefits of membership include a monthly newsletter, access to on-line database and list serve and discounts on Main Street publications and products.

Public Relations
Maine Downtown Center staff and specialists will visit with community and business leaders to help generate community interest.

Commitments Made by Main Street Communities

Time Requirements
Experience has shown that new applicants and Main Street Maine communities often do not realize the amount of time that will be required of volunteers in order to implement the Main Street Maine program. It is essential that the Board realize what is expected of them. Below is a list of projected time requirements by the Maine Downtown Center of local program staff and Board of Directors. Some meetings are mandatory for managers and Board Presidents. Attendance is encouraged for other members of the downtown revitalization organization.

Commitment Time Requirement Involvement
Reconnaissance Visit One day All board members
Main Street Approach Training Two days All board members
Resource Team Visits Three days All board members
Downtown Manager quarterly meetings Four days Manager
Local Board and Committee work Approx. four hours/month All board & committee members

Guarantee of Employment of Local Downtown Manager
Experience has demonstrated the need for a local Executive Director or Program Manager for the Downtown – someone who can market the Downtown, plan and carry out promotional and development projects, administer the local downtown organization and help implement its objectives. For municipalities with populations greater than 5,000, there must be adequate sustainable funding to support a full-time downtown manager. For municipalities with populations less than 5,000, there must be adequate sustainable funding to support a downtown manager at least 25 hours per week.

Guarantee of Sustainable Operating Budget Funded for Three Years
Main Street Maine communities must raise adequate funding to support a downtown management program for at least three years. Community-based funding to support a downtown management program for three years must come from municipal government, local business contributions, contributions from local individuals, community-based fundraising events, and other sources.

Have Existing Downtown Revitalization Organization or Commit to Creating One
A lasting downtown revitalization program will only succeed in communities having well structured and ongoing, incorporated downtown development organizations. Such groups assume responsibility for certain needed tasks such as downtown promotions, facilitation of private sector building improvement and other cooperative projects. The downtown organization is responsible for establishing the overall direction of the local revitalization program, the program budget and staff.

Commit to Main Street Four-Point Approach®
Successful downtown organizations and their staff work systematically through a work plan stating goals and objectives based on the Four-Point, eight-principle Main Street Four-Point Approach® to downtown revitalization – concentrating attention on issues related to design, organization, promotion, and economic restructuring. While the approach is tailored to each community, training and technical assistance is geared to this successful model.

Commit to Volunteer Training
Successful downtown revitalization efforts require significant volunteer development. Main Street Maine Managers and volunteers are expected to attend Downtown Center training events.

Commit to Information Sharing
Main Street Maine communities MUST share downtown revitalization statistics with the Maine Downtown Center quarterly. The Maine Downtown Center must report these statistics to National. It is also expected that each Main Street Maine community will freely discuss lessons learned and expertise as requested with other communities.

Enter into a Letter of Agreement with the Maine Downtown Center
The Maine Downtown Center’s ability to assist a community to revitalize its downtown is dependent upon the level of local capacity, commitment and involvement. For this reason, the Center asks selected Main Street Maine downtown organizations to sign a Letter of Agreement with the Center that clearly specifies the responsibilities of the downtown organization and those of the Maine Downtown Center.

Related News

Three Communities Joining Highly Regarded Revitalization Program

January 28th, 2019

Bar Harbor Hosts Maine Downtown Conference

May 13th, 2016
WABI TV - Taylor Kinzler

Nonprofits Profit Maine; Just Ask Biddeford

February 16th, 2015
Public News Service

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