Main Street Planning Grants

Washington Main Street Planning Grants are designed to build capacity for WMS Communities by offering specialized planning services. Main Street Communities can apply from a menu of planning services offered by professional planners with experience working with Main Street programs.

Applications are due by Tuesday, November 23 at 5 p.m.

We will announce awards in early December, with consultations likely starting after the first of the new year.

Available Grants

Racial Equity in Place Management

Working with BDS Planning over a planning timeline of 8 weeks, WMS Communities will construct a participatory, comprehensive, strategic, and implementable plan.

You can review various projects BDS has consulted on here.

Applicants may request a maximum of $7,500 in grant funding and must provide a 1:4 match to the grant received, meaning grantees must provide at least 25% of the total project cost of $10,000.

Transformation Strategies

Working with BERK Consulting over a planning timeline of 6 months, WMS Communities will develop a concise 3-year strategic plan or framework grounded in one or two custom Transformation Strategies. With a flexible framework, the planning timeline will include about 1 month for scoping and contracting, 2 for information gathering, 2 for facilitation & meetings, and 1 for wrap-up and design of communications materials.

Provided services may include the following: developing a community profile (census data analysis, map, and presentation), stakeholder interviews or focus groups, community surveys (design and analysis), facilitating creation or refresh of vision and mission, facilitating working group meetings, meetings with staff to develop a transformation strategy, writing a strategic plan with transformation strategies, designing a public-facing plan, and designing supplemental communications materials.

Applicants may request a maximum of $15,000 in grant funding and must provide a 1:4 match to the grant received, meaning grantees must provide at least 25% of the total project cost of approximately $20,000 (depending on the exact services selected).

90-day Place Activation Initiative

The design of public spaces (e.g., streets, parks, plazas) directly impacts and influences the economic vitality, quality of place, access, and the livelihood or ‘staying power’ of Main Streets. The 90-Day Planning Grant allows for facilitated workshops to help WA Main Street Programs advance a place vision and change strategy by taking incremental steps to public realm design. Working with Terra Soma through a two-part training over a span of 3 months, the 90-Day Place Activation Planning Grant allows for WMS Communities to assemble a team and work toward a 90-day plan to execute a place activation initiative of their choosing for their downtown district. Download the Place Activation resource guide for more information.

The grant is focused on leadership development, partnership development, actionable strategies, and early successes. Virtual coaching, over three months, will help your group develop a 90-day Place Activation Vision, Implementation Plan, and Place Stewardship (management) Framework as you engage in workshops on visioning, goal setting, and developing actionable strategies; defining team roles and delegating work; navigating design, communications, community participation, and policy and permitting; readying for the roll out. The project lead will be supported with ongoing email communications.

This grant provides $3,000 in technical assistance from Terra Soma, with grantees covering the cost of the local place activation project (projects can range from $2,500 to $15,000).

Grantee Requirements

  • Designation as a Washington Main Street with experience utilizing the Main Street Approach
  • An identified project lead, ideally someone who is not the Executive Director
  • Commitment from the local planning team to participate fully for the duration of the planning timeline
  • Secured grantee share of service cost as outlined above
  • Capacity to collect relevant qualitative and quantitative data on impact of service, including collecting pre- and post-services data and completing a post-services report for Washington Main Street
  • Willingness for Washington Main Street to utilize services outcome (plan or project case study) for statewide learning


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