Excellence on Main Award Categories

Brick & Mortar Rehabilitation

The greenest building is the one that is already built. This award is designed to recognize specific buildings or programs that positively impact preservation efforts in your community. This may include restoration projects, adaptive reuse, energy efficiency or accessibility upgrades, and more. Important factors to highlight include quality, historic preservation, creativity, and impact within budget or constraints. Please provide a brief history of the building, its significance to the community, and how the project benefits the district. Were financial incentives, including tax credits, used? How was the local Main Street organization involved with the project? Please include before and after photos of the project.

Places for People

Historic downtown districts were designed to be walkable, human-scale neighborhoods that can adapt to community needs. This award is designed to recognize projects that focused on innovative design practices that enhance public spaces (from streets and sidewalks to parks and play areas), making downtown more accessible and welcoming for all. Nominations should include information about how the community was consulting and involved in planning and project execution, project goals and how success was measured, images, and other supporting material.

Economic Opportunity

This award is designed to recognize economic enhancement efforts within the downtown district. Nominations should be made for initiatives designed to create new opportunities for locals to build community wealth and/or pursue their dream of entrepreneurship. Examples could include creative incentive development, business/building owner mentorship programs, and spaces or programs that add to a more equitable entrepreneurial ecosystem. Please include information about the project goals, before and after data, and/or explanation of how success of the economic enhancement effort was measured.

Entrepreneur of the Year

This award is designed to recognize the innovation, dedication and entrepreneurial spirit displayed by entrepreneurs and small businesses. Nominations should be made for a business located in the downtown or neighborhood commercial district that has increased its volume of business, expanded operations and demonstrated a strong commitment to the downtown and broader community. Please describe the business’s history with the local Main Street program, examples of its involvement in downtown revitalization and how the business exemplifies the best in quality, creativity, and community spirit. Please include photos of the nominated business.

Legacy on Main Award

A small business can be our sharpest connection to our sense of place, especially when it has stood the test of time, embraced generations of community members, and reached outside its four walls. Nominations toward this category should be longstanding and independent small businesses that have made significant contributions to downtown’s character and serve as cultural anchors for their community. Please describe how the legacy business has adapted or reinvented itself over time and makes concerted efforts to contribute to the downtown community today.

Purposeful Promotion

Nominations should be made for creative and effective image campaigns, special events or other promotional projects that showcase downtown as the center of culture, commerce, and community life. Please include information about how the promotion leveraged your community’s cultural heritage and other unique assets, any partners who were involved in the effort, and how the success of the promotion was measured. Please attach posters, flyers, and/or image materials (if appropriate).

Outstanding Special Project

Nominations should be made for those special or one-time projects that don’t quite fit into one of the other categories but were meaningful to your organization/district and are worthy of celebration. Consider creative partnerships that responded to a community need, projects that enhanced community members’ sense of belonging, or campaigns that changed how people perceive downtown. Please share the goals of the project, who was involved in decision making and implementation, and how the impact of the initiative was measured or gauged.

Organizational Excellence

The Main Street Approach is meant to be of, by, and for all. This award is designed to recognize excellence in the areas related to leading an inclusive Main Street organization by building consensus and cooperation amongst community members. Nominations should be made for organizations and/or projects that have taken steps to ensure widespread community outreach, strong partnerships, varying and engaging volunteer opportunities, leadership development and healthy succession planning, and/or communication strategies that promote greater cooperation and shared vision for downtown.

Leadership on Main

This award recognizes an individual who has shown extraordinary dedication to their local Main Street over a significant period of time. Nominees may be committee volunteers, board members, program staff, or other community leaders involved in the Main Street program. Their leadership – in terms of expertise, commitment, and focus on empowering others – should be clearly demonstrated in the nomination.

Standout Volunteer

We know that Main Streets are only as strong as their volunteer leaders. Washington Main Street is pleased to offer a non-competitive category as part of its annual Excellence on Main Awards, as a way for local Main Street programs to recognize their outstanding volunteers. You may nominate just one individual per year to be recognized at the Excellence in Main awards reception (their attendance is encouraged, but not required) and in subsequent promotional materials. 

The Excellence on Main Award

This award recognizes outstanding projects and people that reflect an attitude of perseverance and dedication to downtown vitality in Washington and will be presented to one community, organization or individual each year. Nominees should be people, organizations or projects that lead by example, expand economic opportunities, enhance quality of life, and foster healthy, vibrant and diverse communities. This is the highest honor the Washington State Main Street Program can bestow.

The Excellence on Main Award will be selected by the awards committee out of the full pool of nominations received in all other categories.