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Missouri Main Street Blog Section

If you are new to Main Street or would like a refresher on the Main Street Four-Point Approach, then we recommend you attend this conference session.

The success of your downtown efforts and those across the country are rooted in the comprehensive Four-Point Approach. Experts and practitioners from the field will present on these points: Design, Economic Vitality, Organization, and Promotion.  

Main Street 101 will dive into the principles, but also feature examples and best practices from each point so you will walk away with a more detailed knowledge on each point and how to utilize them in your own community. 

Main Street 101 will be Wednesday, July 24th, from 8am - 4pm. 
*This session is included with registration of the Get Plugged In Downtown Conference. 

Register Here:  Conference Website

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Missouri Main Street Connection is making plans to "Celebrate Preservation Month!" MMSC Staff, local Main Street Executive Directors, Board members, and preservation representatives will be going on tour with our Road Show. 

We will be highlighting three Missouri historic sites and seventeen Missouri Main Street Communities who are working diligently to preserve their historic resources. 

Through this project, we hope to encourage Missouri citizens of all ages to learn more about the history surrounding them, discover new sites and communities, and understand the importance of preserving our history and historic places for generations to come. 




Download The Brochure Here 


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Be Inspired - Join us at Missouri's Premier Downtown Revitalization Conference to develop fresh ideas on how you can engage, inspire, and create memories while at the same time increase economic prosperity in the very heart of your community.

This year's conference will inspire downtown revitalization attendees to rethink how they present and market their district, businesses, special projects and their organization to customers, visitors, business, and property owners.

This Conference will ignite creative ideas that will inspire welcoming change from our urban districts to small towns and rural Main Streets. 

Missouri's Premier Downtown Revitalization Conference is the only commercial district revitalization educational and networking event that blends economic development, community revitalization, and historic preservation. 

Conference Website and Registration

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The Evening of Excellence will be the finale of “Get Plugged In…Downtown” Conference on July 25, 2019. The Awards Ceremony and dinner will send everyone home from this premier Main Street Conference with new inspiration. Some will even carry an Excellence of Achievement award home. This might be your community. The award nominations are an opportunity for YOU to honor the people, the projects and the activities that are outstanding achievements in your community.


Evening Of Excellence 

July 25, 2019
The Westin St. Louis
811 Spruce St.
St. Louis, MO 63102


Nominations for downtown revitalization awards will be accepted through May 1, 2019.


Winners will be announced at the Evening of Excellence on July 25, 2019.

Download The Nomination From

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Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) unveiled the My Community Matters program on January 28th in Jefferson City at the Capital Building. The program, which is a partnership with MMSC and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) through the Rural Community Development Initiative grant, will help community-based development organizations promote economic development in low-income, rural communities. 

The targeted communities include Brunswick, Butler, Concordia, Kirksville, Knob Noster, Monroe City, Rockaway Beach, Sikeston, and Willow Springs.

MMSC State Director Gayla Roten noted, “MMSC looks forward to working with both USDA and Missouri communities to implement this program and help build sustainable communities through downtown revitalization. Without our valuable partners, this program would not possible.”

My Community Matters initiative will provide technical training and assistance to communities in rural Missouri. This assistance and training will focus on a variety of topics centered on the four points of the Main Street Approach which are Organization, Design, Promotion and Economic Vitality. Within these four points services will cover visioning, market analysis, board training, sustainable design practices, micro-enterprise development, and entrepreneurship. The overall goal of the program is to help Missouri communities build capacity to support sustainable economic development.


Missouri State Legislators congratulated their districts on this grant opportunity. 


Historic Downtown Sikeston

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Dr. Steven Hoffman - MMSC Board President, John Douglas, Senator Wayne Wallingford, Lynn Lancaster, and Gayla Roten - MMSC State Director


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Gayla Roten - MMSC State Director, John Douglas, Lynn Lancaster, Representative Holly Rehder, and Dr. Steven Hoffman - MMSC Board President

Main Street Willow Springs

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Bob Lewis, Representative David Evans, Mary Jones, Isabelle Jones, and Keith Winge - MMSC Community Development Director

Rockaway Main Street

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Senator David Sater, Jim Harriger, and Keith Winge - MMSC Community Development Director


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Representative Jeff Justus with Jim Harriger



Knob Noster Revitalization Commission 

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Luke Lewis, Gayla Roten - MMSC State Director, Senator Denny Hoskins, Bud Thering, Dr. Steven Hoffman - MMSC Board President

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Gayla Roten - MMSC State Director, Luke Lewis, Bud Thering, Representative Brad Pollitt, and Dr. Steven Hoffman - MMSC Board President 


Kirksville and Brunswick 

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Dr. Steven Hoffman - MMSC Board President, Sarah Halstead, Zac Burden, Gayla Roten - MMSC State Director, Senator Cindy O'Laughlin, Thresa Kussman, Bill Jackson, Dan and Gaylene Green



Concordia Main Street, Inc. 

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Gayla Roten - MMSC State Director, Jami Benson, Representative Glen Kolkmeyer, Kaleb Nierman, and Dr. Steven Hoffman - MMSC Board President


Electric City Downtown Butler Main Street

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Gayla Roten - MMSC State Director, Tonya Williams, Senator Ed Emery, and Dr. Steven Hoffman - MMSC Board President

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Bob Lewis, Representative Patricia Pike, Tonya Williams, and Keith Winge - MMSC Community Development Director


Brunswick Main Street

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Gayla Roten - MMSC State Director, Bill Jackson, Representative Dave Muntzel, Thresa Kussman, and Dr. Steve Hoffman - MMSC Board President

DownTown Monroe City Revitalization

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Dr. Steven Hoffman - MMSC Board President, Debbie Kendrick, Mindy Hays, Loree Quinn, and MMSC State Director - Gayla Roten



Read The Full Press Release Here

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Missouri Main Street Connection Inc. (MMSC) is proud to be selected by The Missouri Chapter of the American Planning Association as the winner for the Outstanding Plan Award.

The Community Master Plan for Marceline, MO, was based on the Main Street Four-Point Approach® which includes overall strategies implemented through Design, Economic Vitality, Promotion and Organization. Through their discussions with community members, the team developed three overarching important revitalization strategies based upon community input, economic data research, and potential success of implementing the Transformation Strategies. Goals within each strategy will help the Marceline community enhance the lives of current residents and appeal to visitors. These strategies included diverse housing and downtown properties, food and entertainment, and creative arts.

MMSC worked with the Board of Directors of Downtown Marceline, the City of Marceline, and a special Steering Committee consisting of community members to help lead the effort for the Master Plan for Marceline, MO, boyhood home of Walt Disney.  The MMSC Team consisted of MMSC staff and members from across the country with expertise in all aspects of community revitalization utilizing the Main Street Four-Point Approach®.

Gayla Roten, MMSC State Director noted, “This plan came from the community of Marceline identifying a common goal for the future that will ensure community success for years to come. MMSC is very proud to have worked with all involved on this project and we look forward to assisting in the implementation of this plan.” MMSC is honored to receive the APA Outstanding Plan Award. 

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Missouri Main Street Connection recently introduced a new benefit for our network, the Grant Resource Directory. The directory provides subscribers with a summary of the currently available grant opportunities that can be utilized to support downtown revitalization work.

One of the questions we get asked the most is where to find funding for Main Street organizations. Grants are one of the many ways in which an organization can support its work. Unfortunately, the research process is often so time consuming that Main Street organizations are unable to dedicate that time on top of everything else they do for their district. In response to this, we wanted to create a resource for our network that would cut down on the research time by putting the available opportunities in one place. The directory is sent via email twice a month to ensure that we are able to alert subscribers to new grant opportunities as soon as they become available in order to give them enough time to put together an application.

The directory includes a short summary of each opportunity, a link to more information and the deadline. There is also a section of opportunities that are available on an ongoing basis. These opportunities are often overlooked or not prioritized because they do not have a looming deadline. The directory will continually share these opportunities as a reminder of what is always available.

To give other subscribers ideas for grants, the directory will also feature how grants have been successful for other communities. Subscribers can also submit projects they are in need of funding for, for us to keep in mind when we are researching grants for the directory.

The directory is not meant to take the place of an organization’s individual grant research, however, we hope that this makes it easier for our communities to utilize available grant funding for projects that benefit their historic districts and the work of Main Street in their communities.

To subscribe to the Grant Resource Directory, send your request to Katelyn at katelyn@momainstreet.org.

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In August of 2016, Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) was awarded a USDA Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) to provide technical assistance to rural communities in Southeast Missouri.  When writing the grant, we looked for an area of Missouri without widespread participation in Main Street by the local communities to focus our efforts. While we have and currently work with communities in the southeast region, our goal was to expand this effort by strengthening relationships with community partners in the Southeast Region.


Using the grant we worked with many communities on various issues and projects they were facing in order to help them move forward in their revitalization work. Communities in the southeast region received a variety of services and trainings that were all tailored to the individual community’s need and their experience with implementing the Main Street Four-Point Approach®. These services included town halls to gather public input and support, introduce the Main Street philosophy to the community as well as utilizing the help of consultants to guide the communities in the next steps for their Main Street organizations. Consultants were brought in to provide information and ideas for business recruitment, façade and streetscape design and what steps the Main Street organization must take to implement these plans.

MMSC also organized workshops specifically for communities from the southeast region to learn more about Main Street and how it could help their communities. While some communities in the area have experience with Main Street, we also wanted to reach out to those that want to learn more. In October 2016, we hosted a Main Street 101 workshop that introduced the basics of how Main Street can work for community as well as what MMSC could do to help in the process. Two Affiliate Grant workshops, hosted in the region, explained ways that MMSC could provide dedicated, specialized services and support to the communities in order to get their Main Street organizations started.


Early in 2017, MMSC hosted the Main Street Summit for the communities in Southeast Missouri. The Main Street Summit focused on building a partnership between the local government and the local Main Street organization. Two people from each community attended, one with the city and one with the downtown organization, to learn about Main Street. We have found that bringing people together to hear the same information helps them get on the same page about what the next step is for their community, allowing them to work together better.

Finally, twice during the grant period, MMSC has hosted Basic Training on the Four-Point Approach® for people who wanted an in-depth look at how the four points of organization, promotion, design, and economic vitality work together in a Main Street organization. These workshops covered what each point is and what tasks fall under them for the Main Street community.

Through the Rural Business Development Grant, MMSC has made great progress in the education, training and implementation of Main Street in Southeast Missouri. As with all other regions of Missouri, there are communities at different stages of community revitalization. We tried to tailor the services provided in this grant to all levels of revitalization experience in order to assist as many communities as we could. It was very important to teach the basics of Main Street through many of the workshops described above to lay the groundwork and get communities excited about the transformation that could take place in their communities. We then expanded on these principles and addressed specific needs in the communities that had more experience with Main Street. We were able to help overcome preconceived notions that the historic district wasn’t worth investing in. We helped create or reestablish relationships with communities and their local and state officials. Finally, we provided motivation for communities to take the next steps to create a vibrant and sustainable downtown.

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Missouri Main Street Connection values the benefits of face-to-face educational training. Main Street conferences and workshops offer real and creative solutions to common community revitalization problems through educational sessions and mobile workshops. They provide the opportunity to network and exchange valuable ideas with colleagues experiencing similar success and challenges.


Hosting the 2018 Main Street Now Conference in Kansas City meant that ensuring the attendance by as many Missouri communities as possible was imperative. Knowing that some community programs have slim budgets, and not wanting anyone to miss the opportunity, we provided scholarships to those desiring to attend this national event. Our focus was primarily on awarding scholarships to first-time attendees and individuals from newer, younger downtown revitalization programs. Included here are some comments from recipients following their attendance at the 2018 Main Street Now Conference.

Photo courtesy of Slava Bowman Photography (c)2018.


A Wealth of Information


  As a retired teacher, I have attended my share of conferences. However, the scope, depth and professionalism of this conference blew me away. From the Monday Morning Kick-off Session, to every agonizing decision on which workshop to attend, there was a wealth of information, enthusiasm and expertise to guide and challenge me. – Dan Green, Kirksville, MO 
    The first general session...was absolutely wonderful. It made me think of our Main Street organization in a completely different way. – Liz Ogle, Grandview, MO
    There were vendors present who provided services relevant to my downtown and I appreciate the opportunity to meet with them. – Melissa Combs, Kennett, MO
    Attending the 2018 Main Street Now Conference was far more than any of us expected. After three days, meeting many new friends, hearing new ideas, building renewed energy, and developing real strategies for success, we all believe this conference was the jumpstart we needed. – Rusty Sullivan, Belton, MO


Highly Motivated Individuals

  I cannot express how fulfilling it was to be around like-minded professionals that do what they are passionate about every day. – Lauren Manning, St. Joseph, MO
    The experience of being surrounded with people driven, focused and with a passion for the revitalization of their community’s downtown was an energizing start to my new position as Executive Director. – Kristel Reiman, Warrensburg, MO

The camaraderie and networking that permeated the event was priceless. – Dana DeFoe, Odessa, MO

    Being around a group of highly motivated individuals, ready to do whatever it takes to improve their organization and community had me itching to get back home and start implementing that optimism. – Riley Price, Missouri Preservation



Incredibly Positive Experience

  Simply put: WOW! Without a doubt, the National Main Street Conference was one of the most empowering conferences I have ever attended. – Adam Morton, Knob Noster, MO 


Having the conference in Kansas City was an absolute joy, as Kansas City has quickly become one of my favorite places to visit. I believe [Missouri] Main Street Connection is one of the very best non-profits out there and is making useful strides on the front lines of revitalization efforts in small and mid-sized historic towns across the country. – Adam Flock, Moberly, MO


It was wonderful to see the impact a revitalized Main Street has on all aspects of life within a community. Thanks for reminding me why “this place matters.” – Kim Buckman, Moberly, MO


I was impressed by the size and sophistication of the conference, then amazed by the presenters. – Gaylene Green, Kirksville, MO


Overall it was an incredibly positive experience and I hope to repeat it in Seattle in 2019. – Isabelle Jones, Willow Springs, MO

 Photo courtesy of Slava Bowman Photography (c)2018.


As you can see, a live setting of classroom sessions, mobile workshops, and networking with fellow Main Streeters provides an invaluable experience for volunteers working to revitalize their community.


MMSC is grateful to the following scholarship sponsors. Due to their generosity, we were able to award scholarships for registration fees to 30 individuals to attend the 2018 Main Street Now Conference in Kansas City.


Dalco Industries, Inc.

Karen Bode Baxter, Preservation Specialist

Kiku Obata and Company

Lisart Capital, LLC


R.G. Ross Construction Co., Inc.

STRATA Architecture + Preservation

Header photo courtesy of Slava Bowman Photography (c)2018.
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May is Preservation Month, the annual celebration of history, culture, and special places, designed to raise awareness about the power that historic preservation has to protect and enhance our historic communities. It’s the celebration of places that are meaningful to us. It is the telling of stories of the places we can’t live without.


In many Missouri communities, the old and new live side by side. Historic buildings not only give a community character but also emphasize sustainability. The preservation of unique neighborhoods containing historic landmarks ignites economic development and enriches communities. From first dates to family dinners and shopping trips to nights on the town, America’s thriving historic main streets are where we come together and share experiences that shape our lives and communities.1



In partnership with the Missouri State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), we are launching the #MoPlacesMatter campaign to raise awareness of Missouri’s historic treasures and their vital role in sustaining local communities. Over select dates in May, our Celebrate Preservation Month Road Show2 will visit four historic sites in Missouri dedicated to preserving our state’s historic resources and nine Missouri communities dedicated to preserving and revitalizing their historic districts to further enrich their communities and celebrate their heritage. Our campaign coincides with the #ThisPlaceMatters3 nationwide celebration observed by small towns and big cities with events ranging from architectural scavenger hunts and historic site tours to educational programs and heritage travel opportunities.

Southeast Missouri State University students learning how Historic Preservation and Main Street work together.  


Preservation Month is a great time to learn more about the activities going on around you in your community and state. The Celebrate Preservation Month Road Show is our project to engage the public in preserving historic places and increasing awareness of their role in sustaining local communities. Through the project, we hope to encourage Missouri citizens to learn more about the history surrounding them, discover new sites and communities, and understand the importance of preserving our history and historic places for generations to come. Think about the places in your community that mean the most to you. What are the “must see” or “must experience” places you take visitors from out of town? What places do you think about when you’re away from home and tell other people about your home town? How would your community change if these places were suddenly lost or modified beyond recognition?4




The following communities and historic sites (selected by popular vote) are stops along the 2018 Celebrate Preservation Month Road Show. You can download the complete schedule here.


Cape Girardeau – Old Town Cape, Inc.

Chillicothe – Main Street Chillicothe

Excelsior Springs – Downtown Excelsior Springs Partnership

Independence – Harry S Truman National Historic Site

Jackson – Uptown Jackson Revitalization Organization

Jefferson City – Missouri Governor’s Mansion

Kansas City – Thomas Hart Benton Home & Studio State Historic Site

Lee’s Summit – Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, Inc.

Liberty – Historic Downtown Liberty, Inc.

Mansfield – Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home & Museum

Moberly – Main Street Moberly

Warrensburg – Warrensburg Main Street

Washington – Downtown Washington Inc.

Follow one of the official Celebrate Preservation Month Road Show cars to the places that matter to you! 


In addition to joining us on our Road Show, here are a few more things you can do to participate in Preservation Month5:

  • Read up on your community’s history.
  • Talk to preservationists and learn more about their ideas for your community.
  • Find out or review what properties or neighborhoods your community has listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Review the web pages of your local main street or downtown revitalization program, regional heritage area, and State Historic Preservation Organization (SHPO).
  • Take a tour of a rehabilitated building in your community such as a restored historic theater, historic courthouse or municipal building, or a historic school or commercial building converted to apartments or offices.
  • Take a walk around a nearby historic residential area or shop/dine in a historic commercial district.
  • Take a field trip to a nearby community with a strong historic preservation ethic or main street program.
  • Visit the Preservation Month web pages of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, National Park Service, and National Register of Historic Places.
  • Participate in other local Historic Preservation Month activities.


1Quote by Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

2This activity is partially funded by a grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, State Historic Preservation Office, and the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Grant awards do not imply an endorsement of contents by the grantor. Federal laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, age, handicap or ethnicity. For more information, write to the Office of Equal Opportunity, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington DC 20240.

3#ThisPlaceMatters is the annual campaign created by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

4, 5"Preservation Can Be Inspiring – This Month (and Every Month),” by Amy Faca, May 7, 2013.

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