Saint Paul, MN (March 15, 2010) – The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota is one of 28 partners sharing in 1.56 million dollars in Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants awarded for projects of enduring value.The Alliance applied for, and was awarded, a $100,000 grant from the State of Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society to re-launch the local economic development program, Minnesota Main Street.
Minnesota Main Street was established as an economic development program empowering communities that seek to capitalize on the unique assets and character of our historic downtowns. The program assists and promotes local revitalization efforts based on the national Four Point Approach® developed by the National Trust’s Main Street Center.
Minnesota Main Street seeks to inspire local communities to directly engage in the revitalization of their historic city centers encouraging reinvestment, business and job development, and community collaboration. Local communities benefit from a coordinated vision for the downtown inspiring hundreds of hours of volunteer time, a strengthened job and business base, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in private investment to purchase, construct and rehabilitate historic commercial district property.
The Main Street Four Point Approach advocates “community self-reliance, local empowerment, and the rebuilding of traditional commercial districts based on their unique assets: distinctive architecture, a pedestrian-friendly environment, personal service, local ownership, and a sense of community.”
The program measures success with indicators such as job creation, building permits, construction dollars, Convention and Visitors Bureau counts, and building renovation and new construction projects. This local economic development program, established in 1980 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, has totaled $48.8 billion dollars in reinvestment activity leveraged by its more than 2,200 participating communities across the nation.
In this time of economic challenge, the National Trust Main Street Center can proudly report that this program has created almost 400,000 new jobs, almost 88,000 new businesses, and returned $25 for every $1 spent in its history.
In 1983, Minnesota joined 10 other states in the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Network. The Office of Environmental Resource Development (OERD), part of the Minnesota State Planning Agency, selected five pilot program cities: Fergus Falls; Hastings; Hopkins; Morris; Stillwater.
Key accomplishments of the pilot cities included: 66 rehabilitation projects; 7 new construction projects; 61 new or expanded businesses; and 157 new downtown jobs – all in the span of two years! Despite the successes of the pilot program, state support for the Main Street program ended in 1995.
Minnesota Main Street is being re-launched as a program of the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota after dozens of communities statewide called for its reinstatement. The role of Minnesota Main Street is to competitively select local Main Street programs for participation as designated Main Street communities, provide technical assistance, training, and networking to participant communities, and act as the Minnesota liaison to the National Trust Main Street Center.
Minnesota Main Street currently has a position opening for its Program Coordinator open and, upon filling the position, will begin the application process for the first five Main Street communities in Minnesota. For more information, visit the Alliance website at www.mnpreservation.org/programs/main-street.
Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants continue to provide much needed funds to organizations throughout the state. In addition to the Mid-Size and Large Grants there were 56 other organizations that received $248,787 in Fast Track Grants, for a total of $1,811,287 awarded thus far. The Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants have been made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund with the passage of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.