Enhancing the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being of historic downtown business districts in Missouri.
Frequently asked questions can be found below.
Q. Why is your downtown important?
Your downtown is the most visible indicator of community pride. Downtown is either an
asset or a liability in the effort to recruit new residents, new businesses and industries, retirees,
tourists and others to your community and to keep those you already have. Quality of life is
what separates successful cities and counties from declining communities.
Q. What is Missouri Main Street Connection?
Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) helps communities throughout the state revitalize
their economy, appearance, and image of their commercial business districts within the context
of historic preservation. MMSC is a partner with the National Trust for Historic Preservation,
the National Main Street Center, and the Missouri Department of Economic Development in
delivering revitalization education services. MMSC is authorized, by annual contract with the
National Trust for Historic Preservation, to conduct evaluations of local Main Street programs in
Missouri to determine their qualifications for Accreditation which is recognized by the National
Trust’s Main Street Center. MMSC also cooperates and partners with the Missouri Alliance for
Preservation to bring technical preservation expertise to communities in Missouri that are
working to revitalize their downtowns while preserving the heritage and cultural assets of their
Q. What does the Main Street statewide program do?
The program helps communities get focused to gather support from individuals and
organizations interested in downtown revitalization, and helps them develop skills necessary to
carry the revitalization mission forward. It serves as a source for the latest information, tools
and techniques in downtown development and preservation, through a variety of conferences
and workshops conducted around the state.
Q. What is the Main Street Four-Point® Approach to revitalization?
Four standing committees conduct the operations and activities of a local Main Street
Q. Who can apply to be part of the Missouri Main Street program?
Any community in Missouri that has a traditional downtown district may apply to be part of
the program. The first step for communities that want to learn more about
Main Street® is attending MMSC workshops and conferences that will give them opportunities to
discover whether Main Street is a good “fit” for their community. Advancing in the program,
they can become a member of MMSC at the Aspiring Tier Level and receive discounts on
conference fees and other membership benefits. For details of participation at all levels, see
The Tier System.
Q. If my city does not have a street named “Main Street” can we still apply?
Yes. Main Street is a program for downtown commercial revitalization, no matter what the
community’s street names may be.
Q. How is MMSC funded?
MMSC is a not-for-profit 501c3 corporation, primarily funded by private contributors, and in
part by fees for its educational services. Some of the professional service costs are funded by
Missouri state government through the Department of Economic Development.
Q. Who pays for a local Main Street Program?
Main Street® is a self-help program, funded in part by individuals in the community, business
sponsors, corporate contributions, local fundraising projects, grants and municipal government.
Each local Main Street Program is responsible for securing its own funding, which should come
from diverse sources and show a strong public-private partnership. A typical funding formula is:
The local Main Street Organization Committee and the Board of Directors are typically
responsible for fundraising.
Q. Does the Missouri Main Street Connection award grants?
A 40/60 cost-share grant for MMSC training and technical services is available by
competitive application of new participants to the Affiliate Level. Applications are generally
accepted in the fall and spring.
Q. Is a local Main Street® program similar to a Chamber of Commerce?
No. Chambers of Commerce are designed to promote business and benefit their members.
Main Street® programs are planned and implemented with community participation, and with
the goal of benefitting everyone in the community.
Q. My community cannot hire a full-time Main Street® manager/director. Can we hire someone parttime,
or can a volunteer do the job?
A full-time manager (in some cases called an Executive Director) is desirable, but most new
programs can afford only a part-time director or volunteer. The goal, for new programs, is to
develop a working Board of Directors that operates efficiently and carries out effective planning
and program implementation, while building the financial resources to hire staff. A Main Street
organization should always strive to have a working board, with staff utilized as facilitators and
spokespersons for the organization.
Q. We have a downtown revitalization program in our town but are not an official Main
Street® community. Can we call our program “Main Street”?
No. The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Main Street Center has a
registered trademark on the term “Main Street®” when referring to a downtown revitalization
program. Missouri Main Street Connection is authorized by the National Trust to designate the
communities in Missouri that are permitted to use of the term Main Street® as part of their
Q. How long does a Main Street® program last?
Revitalization is a process, not a project that has a completion date. Downtowns need
continual revitalization because time does not stand still, economic conditions change, and the
built environment always needs regular maintenance and improvements. While we can
celebrate today’s achievements, we are always working to maintain the physical conditions in
downtown, and prepare for needs in the future.
Q. What role does Missouri Main Street Connection play in the local program’s policy making
MMSC provides advice and technical assistance, but does not recommend local policy,
except for guidance on how a not-for-profit board should conduct business in an ethical and
professional manner that observes all requirements for benevolent organizations as determined by the Internal Revenue Service code and the Missouri Sunshine Law. Policies that
guide the local organization should be based upon the Four-Point Approach®.
Q. If my company has services or products to offer the Missouri Main Street communities, can
Yes. Architectural and engineering firms, construction companies, landscape designers,
urban planners, financial consultants, street furnishings manufacturers, and any of the building
trades specializing in historic restoration and rehabilitation may apply for a listing in the MMSC
Allied Services section of this website. Allied Services members also receive an invitation to
participate as exhibitors and sponsors for the Missouri Main Street Annual Conference. To
apply, go to Become a Member.
Q. Who should I contact for more information?
Missouri Main Street Connection
PO Box 1066, Branson, MO
You may also download a printer friendly version of these FAQ here.