We love historic downtowns!

Enhancing the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being of historic downtown business districts in Missouri.

Public and Private INVESTMENT


Net new businesses


Net New jobs


volunteer hours


Designated Missouri Main Street communities report economic impact in their districts each quarter. Cumulative totals for the program.



Missouri Main Street Blog Section

Blog Home > Missouri’s Premier Downtown Revitalization Conference: Successfully Showcases the Power of People in Revitalization
Missouri’s Premier Downtown Revitalization Conference: Successfully Showcases the Power of People in Revitalization

Attendees of this year’s conference know just how powerful THEY and each individual in Missouri’s Main Street communities are when it comes to making a positive community impact. Representatives from communities of all sizes across Missouri attended the 2023 Missouri’s Premier Downtown Revitalization Conference in St. Louis where they discovered the power of People-Centered Revitalization. See what a fantastic time attendees had while learning about the Main Street Approach™, which is the framework people can use to empower transformation and successful change in a downtown district’s physical, social, economic, and civic components.



This year we started the conference even bigger than ever. Wednesday, July 26th was packed with things to do for early arrivers before the kick-off evening event and opening assembly the next day. While local program directors and their support staff took part in their monthly directors meeting and semiannual support staff meeting, other attendees embarked on one of two different concurrent educational tours. The “Makers and Shaker in Delmar Main Street District” took attendees on an exploration of Delmar Boulevard, within the Delmar Main Street district, where there is a vibrant mix of makers as well as collaborative spaces, like Maxine Clark’s Delmar Divine, that houses dozens of non-profits together to forge partnerships to move St. Louis forward.



The “Food Entrepreneurs are Shaking Up the Food Industry” tour took attendees on a munching tour to both Dutchtown Main Streets and the Soulard Farmers Market in the Soulard Historic District where they learned about each districts food entrepreneur ecosystems while enjoying select offerings from current residents of the spaces.




There were two special sessions attendees could attend on Wednesday. The first being the Deep Dive with guest speakers from the Missouri Department of Economic Development Community Block Grant (CDBG) and Iowa Main Street shared about the new Downtown Revitalization fund through MO DED’s CDBG and how Iowa’s Main Streets have utilized their own CDBG funds since Missouri modeled this new opportunity after Iowa’ s program.




The second special session was an invite only session sponsored by St. Louis Development Corporation (SLDC). During this session attendees got to hear from each of the three St. Louis Main Streets programs that MMSC has worked with over the past few years and the success they have had in organizing together to make an impact on their communities. If you want to learn more about the success of the St. Louis Main Streets programs Dutchtown Main Streets, Laclede’s Landing, and Delmar Main Street, check out this article (Sharing Successes from the Three Districts in the Pilot St. Louis Main Streets Program).




As always, the Evening Opening Reception is a fun kick-off party and 2023 was no different. On top of being in a cool location, Ballpark Village’s Crown Room, attendees were getting to know other attendees at the event they may not have known before by playing bingo. Some of the items on their bingo cards included: has completed Route 66, has visited Disneyland Paris, has public art in their downtown, has attended over 5 MMSC conference, and many more. After getting their competitive spirit fix, you could see groups of people across the venue eating appetizers and networking together.




The conference officially started on Thursday, July 27th with the opening assembly which was crafted by our staff to embody our theme of “People-Centered Revitalization”. During our Welcome and Opening Assembly several Main Street programs highlighted the success they have had working together with their community and volunteers. Cape Girardeau, Jackson, Albany, and the St. Louis Main Streets districts Delmar, Dutchtown, and Laclede’s Landing presented how it was the people of their community who were the catalysts to boost the economy while also putting community vision in action. At the end of the assembly, Maxine Clark held a special heart ceremony to recognize the Main Street Directors who were present at the conference.




Following the Welcome and Opening Assembly attendees were able to start learning from a multitude of other speakers about various topics. This year our staff selected the tracts of Physical, Social, Economic, Civic, Historic Preservation, Foundational, and Urban for the offered sessions.

Some of the attendees were clear about which sessions were their favorites with the reviews we have received so far. The “Main Streets Role in Addressing Social and Economic Challenges” was one session that stood out as we heard all the little nuggets people were able to take away from the speaker including: the 13 touchpoints for trust, the Main Street organization’s ability to have influence over developers, nuanced views on equity, and adapting the Main Street Approach™ to address the realities and challenges of our community.




Additionally, high remarks were given to “Microenterprise Financing for Downtown Development”, “Bitesize Placemaking”, “Successful Event Planning and then Measuring their Impact”, and “Beg, Borrow, and Steal”. People took away so much from these sessions with our favorites being “be proud of your existing downtown and be proud as it grows even better.”




Once again, the ShowMe Bash & Pitch Party were a blast. Attendees brought the excitement of the conference to Armory STL to see great pitches for the Creative Space Activation Grant. Five communities were looking to win the $10,000 Creative Space Activation Grant and presented their projects to the judges made up of MMSC board members. Historic Downtown Liberty, Inc. walked away as the winner with $10,000 for their project. Their application and following pitch at the event highlighted the great need for the project in their district and the strong support they have.




Missouri Main Street Connection always ends conference with an elegant finale. Following the sessions and Closing Assembly on Friday, July 28th, the Evening of Excellence Awards Ceremony & Dinner was held at the Archview Ballroom at Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark. This is always a special evening at our conference where MMSC presents awards to communities, businesses, Main Street programs, and individuals to commemorate and honor their commitment to their district as well as the achievements of Main Street revitalization. Once more there was something extra special about some of the award recipients.



Check out the Press Release section on our website to see all the awards MMSC awarded during the Evening of Excellence Awards Ceremony. One presentation was a surprise to everyone in attendance. Diane Hannah, MMSC’s Special Programs Coordinator, received gifts from MMSC’s staff and board members for her years of service to MMSC and Missouri’s Main Streets for her retirement.




As communities departed the conference, they took with them the knowledge and connections they gained to their communities to share with others. Kristine Molloy from My Hometown Carrollton commented to our staff after conference, “I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed my first Main Street Conference! It was amazing and very well organized. I am looking forward to getting a group from My Hometown Carrollton to attend next summer.”



As we take all the feedback provided by the session surveys and overall conference survey, we continue to make our conference better each year for each attendee. MMSC is excited to see you in Kansas City in 2024!

Comments 0 Rating: Be the first person to rate this post.

You will be the first person to comment on this post.


First Name:
Last Name: