In 1986, California joined a growing national movement to improve the quality of life in America's towns, cities and neighborhoods by reinvigorating the economic health of their historic Main Street central business districts.
Developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation more than 30 years ago and administered by the non-profit National Main Street Center of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Main Street Program has utilized a public-private partnership of private investment, local government support, and local non-profit assistance to revitalize historic commercial districts. The locally driven, grass roots, self-help Main Street Four-Point Approach® focuses on organization, promotion, design, and economic restructuring.
Membership in California Main Street Alliance is open to any person, business, organization or public entity that is interested in the revitalization of downtowns and commercial districts in California, and includes member-only updates including the latest news in revitalization, grant opportunities, reduced fees for conferences and training, a members-only listserve, one-on-one technical assistance, membership listings with links from our website and our quarterly e-newsletter.
While not every city, town or neighborhood engaged in revitalization seeks California Main Street designation or National Main Street Center accreditation; many California commercial districts pursue the prestigious designation of Designated California Main Street Community.
To become a Designated California Main Street Community, a revitalization program must meet stringent criteria and operational standards of performance as set by the National Main Street Center and California Main Street, including completion of a comprehensive application outlining the program of work for the organization that includes all facets of the Main Street Four Point Approach®, and pass an on-site assessment.
California Main Street and California Main Street Alliance do not provide funding; they provide training, information, research, referral services, and technical assistance.