As a leader in grassroots economic development, Main Street South Carolina continues to expand partnerships across the state. Designated as the state Main Street coordinating program of the National Main Street Center, Main Street SC is a program of the Municipal Association of SC. It provides its participating downtown development organizations with the training, tools, and networking needed to strengthen revitalization efforts.
Currently, 28 communities participate in the Main Street SC program: Aiken, Beaufort, Bennettsville, Camden, Central, Cheraw, Clinton, Dillon, Florence, Forest Acres, Fountain Inn, Gaffney, Greenwood, Hartsville, Kingstree, Lancaster, Laurens, Lyman, Manning, Moncks Corner, Newberry, North Augusta, Olanta, Orangeburg, Pageland, Sumter, Walhalla and Williamston.
The structure of each community’s program varies depending on local resources and funding, with some functioning as nonprofit organizations and several working as departments within city government. The Main Street SC network includes four membership levels to provide opportunities for communities in all stages of downtown development. The ultimate goal is for communities to pursue and maintain national accreditation from the National Main Street Center.
Accredited programs meet rigorous national standards of performance. They have a proven record of success in planning, implementing and measuring results that align with the Main Street Four Point Approach.
Classic programs have a full-time Main Street Director and active volunteers.
Aspiring communities complete a three-year asset-based strategic planning process to integrate the Main Street Approach into their district, which includes developing communication and action plans.
Main Street Walhalla is now an Aspiring Main Street community.
Photo: Main Street Walhalla.
Friends are just starting a downtown revitalization effort and wish to learn more about using the Main Street Approach.
Walhalla has advanced to the Aspiring level, where it will receive three years of hands-on guidance to help build a strong organization focused on diversifying its downtown economic base. Selection at this level is a competitive process with limited spots available each year. Interested cities must submit an application.
“Downtown Walhalla is on the cusp of transforming into a thriving business and cultural community,” said Libby Imbody, Main Street Walhalla’s program director. “Having the support of Main Street South Carolina will enable us to take advantage of the structural and organizational tools needed to guide our growth and ensure the success of our long-term goals.”
Four other Main Street SC communities have received recognition for their effective programs. The Aiken Downtown Development Association, Main Street Hartsville, Main Street Laurens and Uptown Greenwood have all received national accreditation — a prestigious mark of distinction. During an annual review process required by National Main Street, communities showcase their successes, address their challenges and highlight their future plans.
“Main Street SC equips communities with the tools they need to revitalize their historic districts and make them the economic and cultural heart of their community,” Jenny Boulware, Main Street SC manager, said. “Wahalla’s transition to an Aspiring program shows it’s ready for the next level. For Aiken, Greenwood, Hartsville and Laurens, achieving accredited status demonstrates that they are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts.”
Jonathan Irick, executive director of Main Street Laurens, described national and state accreditation as an important benchmark for the program’s work.
“Accreditation recognizes that our organization continues to build upon the success of past years and is one of the premier community revitalization organizations in the country,” he said.
The primary purpose of a local Main Street program is to ensure the long-term success of a city’s downtown by creating and continually training a comprehensive, professional, volunteer-based downtown revitalization organization. With a focus on locally-driven, incremental change, Main Street SC communities are committed to creating communities where people want to live, work, and invest.
Learn more about Main Street SC here, or contact Jenny Boulware at firstname.lastname@example.org or 803.354.4792 for more information.