About the Texas Main Street Program

A view of downtown Paris, TexasThe mission of the Texas Main Street Program (TMSP) is "to provide technical expertise, resources and support for Texas communities in the preservation and revitalization of historic downtowns and commercial neighborhood districts in accord with the National Main Street Four Point Approach® of organization, economic restructuring, design and promotion."  At the TMSP, staff work on a daily basis with our 88 designated communities to help them reach their revitalization and preservation goals through the framework of the Approach®. This methodology provides the necessary tools for local communities to effectively address the issues downtowns face.

The Four Point Approach® to Downtown Revitalization Under the Main Street Philosophy

  • A group of people posing in front of a building for a photoOrganization: Partnerships are essential for successful preservation-based downtown revitalization. Through a solid Main Street structure, many groups that share an interest in the health of downtown come together to work toward an agreed-upon vision for downtown and thus, for the community.
  • Promotion:  This aspect of the Approach is utilized to market a unified, quality image of the business district as the center of activities, goods and services.
  • Design: Capitalizing on the downtown’s unique physical assets and heritage, design activities such as building rehabilitations, utilization of preservation-based tools and ordinances and effective planning practices help to create an active district and maintain its authenticity.
  • Economic Restructuring: In this area, a targeted program is developed to identify new market opportunities for the commercial district, find new uses for historic commercial buildings, and stimulate investment in property.

People lined up along Main Street in Georgetown, Texas waiting for a paradeThere are many reasons why downtown revitalization is a crucial tool for enhancing the economic and social health of a community. In addition to being the most visible indicator of community pride and economic health, the historic downtown is also the foundation of community heritage. The historic buildings in a downtown are prime locations for the establishment of unique entrepreneurial businesses and can also be tourism attractors, all of which add to the community’s sales tax collections and property values. Today, massive, look-alike retail centers permeate the national landscape, making it even more important that communities be proactive in saving and using their historic spaces to avoid becoming featureless places. Working in all four activity areas, local Main Street programs rejuvenate these special places.

People sitting in folding chairs on the lawn of the Denton courthouseToday, there are 88 official Texas Main Street communities all across Texas that range in population from 2,000 to more than 200,000. Cumulatively, designated Texas Main Street communities have reported significant reinvestment into their historic downtowns:

  • More than $2.9 billion of overall reinvestment has been reported, of which 65% has been from private investment.
  • Additionally, Main Street cities have added more than 31,000 jobs and 8,000 new small businesses to the Texas economy.

These reinvestments show that there is significant economic development impact from historic preservation. TMSP staff work hand in hand with designated communities to help them achieve their goals.

A view of cars and buildings in downtown Bastrop, TexasThere are several ways to learn more about the TMSP and designated programs, including a slide presentation, contact list and cities map, all of which can be found on the Current Participants page of this website.

There are thousands of participating Main Street communities all across the nation in 44 states. More information about the nationwide effort can be found at the website of the National Main Street Center. The national center is a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

For more information about the Texas Main Street program, please contact the Texas Main Street state coordinator or call 512-463-5858.