1. Main street connects people to one another.
A vibrant downtown offers opportunities for connection through the mix of enterprises, use of sidewalks, public and green spaces. It might be where kids are first allowed on their own to walk with friends to get pizza, where annual holidays are celebrated, you gather for ceremonies or do the everyday business of mailing a letter or getting a dog license at town hall. You may see familiar faces of the storeowners, neighbors, and friends who frequent the town. These connections are important to people and add to the social fabric of a community. Opportunities to connect give people a chance to catch up, be of assistance and learn of something new happening. These social connections help to build community. People value making connections and view main street as a place to do this.
2. Main street is a symbol of a town – its history, character and values.
Downtown is a symbol of the community. It demonstrates who the community is and what the community values. Residents want their main street to be lively and successful. While commercial development may have moved beyond the traditional town center, the community still values what downtown represents and want it to be attractive and vibrant. Community leaders want to show that they take care of the place and it is clean, friendly, safe, and active. It is for everyone and it is the heart of the community. It might have an arts, recreation or historic focus and the citizens connect to this. Downtown is also a symbol of your community leadership and priorities. An effort to maintain or revitalize a downtown requires leadership and volunteers.
3. Main street adds to the local economy with viable businesses and jobs.
Main street historically was the center of commerce. Downtowns have changed. Once home to most or all commerce, they have changed with the growth of towns, sprawl development and changes in retail and industry. Many small N.H. downtowns remain as part of a larger economic engine of the community. The businesses provide jobs, often to local residents. Main street is a place for entrepreneurs. A resident can open a new business to test the local market and remain close to home. Businesses bring in residents and often visitors to spend money and to learn of other businesses. Business and building owners pay taxes. Businesses keep a watchful eye on the happenings downtown by assessing the condition of the sidewalks, streets and parking. They take a leadership role in the success of main street. They often volunteer and sponsor local programs and activities.
Want to help revitalize your downtown? Join us to learn from 3 NH towns at different stages of revitalization during the Spring 2019 Main Street Academy!