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Designated Communities

Designated Logo


Designated map

Up to three communities are selected annually to become Designated Communities through Main Street Alabama.

Interested parties must follow the posted schedule to make application. A general timeframe that should be considered is as follows: Multiple application workshops are held each Winter, written applications are due at the end of each Spring and the announcement of New Communities is at the beginning of each Summer. More information regarding the process is located in the "How to Apply" Section.

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Tiered Program of Services

Designated Main Street

  • New programs $7,500 Fee Year 1; $5,000 Year 2; $3,000 Year 3
  • Established programs (4+ years) $1,500 Annual Fee

For communities that have a thorough understanding of the 4-Point Approach to revitalization and the desire and commitment to work the program, and that annually meet Main Street Alabama’s criteria for designation. Designation includes eligibility for all benefits. To become a Designated Main Street community, a first-time community must become a Network member, attend an Application Workshop, be recommended by a Selection Committee based on a completed application and evaluation of capacity to achieve success, and be approved by the Board of Directors of Main Street Alabama (limited to 3 new communities a year).

This is the only level of service that authorizes a community to use the trademarked Main Street name and the Main Street Alabama logo.


Technical Assistance – For new Main Street communities during the first 3 years

  • Full-day on-site media event & visit to kick off the newly designated program, familiarize Main Street Alabama staff with local community issues, and provide organizational assistance.
  • Assistance developing and structuring the Board, including the 4-Point committees, and with plans to hire the local Executive Director
  • On-site 3- or 4-day Resource Team visit to include (1) public visioning; (2) strategic interviews with City officials, historic preservationists, economic development representatives, business owners, property owners, arts/cultural interests, consumers, and residents; (3) review of data on codes, zoning, history of the community, and the market; (4) public presentation with initial findings, downtown vision, and recommendations
  • Strategic Planning Guide developed by the Resource Team, including recommendations in each of the four points to support the Main Street program in the first 3 to 5 years
  • Once the Executive Director is hired and committees are in place, conduct full-day training, including work plan and goals, for the Board’s 4-Point committees, the ED, and interested community members and volunteers
  • Electronic general design guidelines
  • Market Analysis and economic development strategies specific to the designated community, including consumer and business surveys in year two. 
  • In year three, full branding package to include organizational, destination, and event extension images unique to the community.
  • Annual assessment of program success, including monthly reporting and follow-up on committee progress in relation to Mission and Vision statements and work plans, providing assistance if needed

Technical Assistance – For established Main Street communities (4+ years)

  • 20 hours telephone or electronic consultation with Main Street Alabama staff
  • Assistance updating Mission and Vision statements, if needed
  • Assistance developing committee work plans, if needed
  • On-site public presentation to assist in promoting the value of the Main Street 4-Point approach to the community
  • One 4-hour on-site consultation or training by Main Street Alabama staff tailored to your needs (e.g., Fundraising, Entrepreneurship, Main Street as a Developer)
  • One-day community assessment involving interviews and public engagement, conducted by Main Street Alabama and selected professional consultants
  • Conduct Board retreat (minimum of 8 members and ED in attendance)
  • Electronic general design guidelines provided
  • Market Analysis and economic development strategies specific to the designated community, including consumer and business surveys
  • Annual assessment of program success, including monthly reporting and follow-up on committee progress in relation to Mission and Vision statements and work plans, providing assistance if needed
  • Ongoing professional development opportunities for the director, board members and volunteers
  • Eligible to purchase additional services at Designated Main Street discounted rates


  • Full-day workshops on revitalization trends, tools and best practices from around the country, at a discounted rate of $25/person for designated communities. Each training session provides take-home-and-put-to-use information, from how to do promotions that work, to understanding community-initiated development and learning to manage the changes in your downtown. Training sessions are held quarterly in Designated Main Street communities around the state.

Educational Resources

  • Access to Main Street Alabama resource library
  • Receive regular e-mail communications from Main Street Alabama so you know what’s up in the downtown redevelopment field

Special Events and Networking

  • Interact at quarterly training with others from across the state who are working on downtown redevelopment projects, sharing information and support
  • Quarterly meetings with directors of other Designated Main Street communities, including roundtable discussions to exchange information and resources to solve specific problems, along with mentoring opportunities
  • Authorization to use the trademarked “Main Street” name and affiliation with the national brand
  • Eligible to promote and market local community events through Main Street Alabama website and social media and to participate in joint Main Street marketing
  • Eligible for awards recognition at the state and national level


  • Sign an annual Memorandum of Agreement that specifies mutual expectations for a successful revitalization program
  • Understand and commit to the Main Street 4-Point Approach & Eight Guiding Principles
  • Build consensus-based cooperative partnerships with local public and private sectors
  • Maintain a sufficient level of local program funding to cover: salary & benefits for the local Main Street director and other staff; fees to Main Street Alabama and dues to the National Main Street Center (NMSC); rent; utilities; telephone; office equipment and supplies; printing/copying; photography; postage; insurance; advertising/promotion; travel for training; professional development; memberships; and other operational expenses
  • Employ a qualified professional director to administer and run the program, responsible for carrying out the 4-Point Approach. This position is similar to that of a Chamber Executive or a Director of Economic Development
  • Attend all quarterly trainings, directors meetings and state conference

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