District bridges main streets
Unlike other Main Street organizations, District Bridges is one entity that manages multiple programs accredited through the National Main Street Center.
What is a main street?
DC Main Streets is a comprehensive program funded by the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) that promotes the revitalization of commercial districts in the District of Columbia. Created in 2002 through the National Trust for Historic Preservation, DC Main Streets serve as the citywide coordinating program that provides services and funding for the designated Main Streets programs in the District of Columbia.
District Bridges is unique among the organizations that operate DC Main Street programs. Typically, when a new Main Street program is designated, a new nonprofit organization is born. This new nonprofit then, in under a year must set up all the systems necessary to effectively function, hire an executive director, develop programming and community support, participate in a variety of trainings, and of course, fundraise.
As the first multi-Main Street organization, District Bridges has developed a model that makes launching new Main Street programs a turnkey operation streamlining the operational setup of a new program, creating economies of scale to achieve greater impact, increasing staff capacity, and most importantly developing a strategic approach to community development that looks at the holistic needs of a city to create collaborative solutions that leverage each communities unique assets to address the most pressing and critical needs they face.
The Main Street approach
Every community and commercial district is different, with its own distinctive assets and sense of place. The Main Street Approach™ offers community-based revitalization initiatives with a practical, adaptable framework for downtown transformation that is easily tailored to local conditions. The Main Street Approach helps communities get started with revitalization and grows with them over time.
Strengthening business operations to capitalize on market opportunities and improve competitive advantage through strategies with technical assistance and training in areas such as product diversification and inventory control. Recruiting businesses for vacant and underutilized commercial properties.
Developing retail sales events and targeted marketing to increase the purchase of goods and services from neighborhood businesses, as well as special events and activities that increase foot traffic to the commercial corridor, as a whole, and create a positive image that attracts new businesses, investors, and visitors.
Creating public and private partnerships to build the resources (e.g. volunteers and funding) needed for sustainable Main Streets program, as well as public relations efforts that emphasize communication with stakeholders about the value of neighborhood commercial revitalization initiatives using tools such as website, newsletters, and annual reports.
Supporting a community’s transformation by enhancing the physical and visual elements of downtown while capitalizing on the unique assets that set the commercial district apart.