The Missouri Main Street Program began in 1989. It was housed under the umbrella of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, which provided staff and coordinated all the training, mentoring and accreditation for the local Main Street programs.
In 2003, when budget cuts eliminated the DED support staff for the Main Street program, the local program managers discussed the importance of keeping the Main Street program alive in Missouri. They felt that continued revitalization training and mentoring were crucial to the survival of the downtowns in many small communities across the state.
At that point, the managers decided to undertake the statewide coordinating program on their own. They formed a not-for-profit 501c3 corporation in 2005, called the Missouri Main Street Connection. During the first several years, the managers served as the initial Board of Directors, and helped conduct revitalization workshops, while contracting with the National Trust to provide the professional services of field representatives from the National Main Street Center.
The Missouri Main Street program has evolved over the last decade to include a broader representation on the Board of Directors, while expanding the revitalization training and mentoring for Missouri communities. The Board of Directors now is a diverse group, representing all regions of the State, and is assisted by an Advisory Board.
Missouri Main Street Connection continues to serve as the state coordinating program for the National Main Street Center by providing revitalization training and mentoring, and conducting the local program assessments and accreditation reviews for all Missouri communities that are participating in the Main Street Program.