Main Street Program

Since 1984, the Washington State Main Street Program has been helping communities revitalize the economy, appearance, and image of their downtown commercial districts using the successful Main Street 4-Point Approach®. Main Street is a comprehensive, incremental approach to revitalization built around a community's unique heritage and attributes. Using local resources and initiative, the state program helps communities develop their own strategies to stimulate long term economic growth and pride in the heart of the community- downtown.

In 2010 the Main Street Program was moved from the Department of Commerce to the Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation.  The program is managed (under contract) by the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation. 

Main Street 4-Point Approach®

Many of Washington's communities, like thousands of communities across the country, are using the National Main Street Center's 4-Point Approach® effectively to address the complex and changing issues facing the downtown business environment. The Main Street Approach provides a flexible framework that puts the traditional assets of downtown, such as unique architecture and locally-owned businesses to work as a catalyst for economic growth and community pride. Community’s just starting downtown revitalization as well as those with more experience are creating lasting economic impact through the Main Street Approach.
Downtown Walla WallaThe four points and eight guiding principles of the Main Street approach work together to build a sustainable and complete community revitalization effort.

• Economic Restructuring - This element involves strengthening your existing economic assets while diversifying the commercial district.  This goal is accomplished by identifying potential market niches, finding new uses for vacant or underused spaces and improving business practices.

Design - Utilizing appropriate design concepts, the visual quality of the commercial district (buildings, signs, window displays, landscaping, and environment) is enhanced.  This creates a safe, vibrant environment for all downtown users, improving and enhancing consumer and investor confidence in the community.

Organization - Each community has many groups of people who are interested in and are willing to work toward the goal of a revitalized commercial district. The organizational element brings together the public sector, private groups and individual citizens to provide effective, ongoing management and advocacy for the downtown district.

Promotion - By promoting the downtown in a positive manner, a community can begin to focus on the commercial district as a source of community pride, social activity and economic development potential.  Advertising, special events and retail promotions communicate your commercial district's unique characteristics, business establishments and activities to shoppers, investors, potential business and property owners, and visitors.

The Eight Guiding Principles

• Incremental Process
• Comprehensive Four Point Approach
• Quality
• Public and Private Partnership
• Changing Attitudes
• Focus on Existing Assets
• Self-Help Program
• Implementation Oriented


The State Main Street Program provides access to information, guidance and support to  individuals and organizations interested in downtown revitalization. It also serves as a general clearinghouse for the latest tools and techniques in downtown preservation and revitalization. Recognizing that Washington communities interested in revitalization have a variety of situations and needs, the WMSP offers a tiered approach to participation.

For more information contact:

Sarah Hansen

Main Street Program Coordinator

Washington Trust for Historic Preservation

1204 Minor Avenue

Seattle, Wa 98101

(p) 206-624-9449

(f) 206-624-2410