The Main Street Four Point Approach has Eight Guiding Principles that distinguish it from other redevelopment strategies:
Downtown revitalization is complicated and cannot be accomplished through any single project. For successful long-term revitalization, a comprehensive approach must be applied and utilized over time.
Small projects and simple activities lead to a more sophisticated understanding of the revitalization process and help to develop local skills to undertake increasing complex projects and ensuring that each local program builds its capacity to address these projects.
Nobody else will save Main Street. There are no white knights. Local leaders must be willing to make their commercial area successful. Illinois Main Street provides technical assistance and training, but sustained, long-term success depends upon the involvement and commitment of the local community.
The public and private sectors have a vital interest in the economic health and physical viability of the downtown. Each sector has a role to play and must understand the other’s strengths and limitations to forge an effective partnership.
Identifying existing assets
Commercial districts need to capitalize on those assets that make them unique and different. Every district has unique attributes, such as distinctive architecture or a pedestrian feel. This enables a local sense of belonging. These local assets serve to differentiate each district and each community.
Quality must be emphasized in every aspect of the revitalization program. This applies equally to each element of the program, from storefront design to promotional campaigns to educational programs to organizational performance.
Main Street can make skeptics become believers. Changes in attitudes and the ways that things are done are necessary to improve the district’s economic conditions. Public support for change builds as the Main Street program grows in its work.
Actions create confidence in the program and increase local involvement. Frequent and visible changes remind the community and downtown’s stakeholders that the revitalization is under way, beginning with small steps and building on those successes.