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 for the 2022-23 cycle are due by Friday, September 30 at 5 p.m. We will announce awards in early October, with consultations likely starting in January and concluding no later than June 30, 2022.

We invite you to attend two office hours sessions to hear more and ask your questions.

  • Tuesday, August 23 at noon. Zoom link here.
  • Thursday, September 15 at 1 p.m. Zoom link here.

Available Grants

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.

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).

Read about past Place Activation grant projects here, and download the Place Activation resource guide for more information.

Transformation Strategies

Modeled after Main Street America’s “refreshed” approach, our Transformation Strategies grant will support you in developing a concise strategic plan or strategic framework grounded in one or two custom Transformation Strategies. Working with BERK Consulting over the span of 6 months, you’ll engage in ongoing meetings as a steering committee, arrange focus groups, co-develop and publicize a community survey ⁠— all with the end result of a community-minded strategic plan to guide your next 3-5 years. Each committee member can expect to put in 11 hours throughout the project, with a higher time investment from the project lead.

Applicants may request a maximum of $15,000 in grant funding and must provide a 1:3 match to the grant received, meaning grantees must provide at least 25% of the total project cost of $20,000. (Note: Grantees may opt to pay for additional services, including stakeholder interviews and design of a public-facing plan and communication materials.)

Check out the strategic plan the Stevenson Downtown Association made with the help of last year’s planning grants here.

Economic Vitality Grants

Recognizing that each Main Street organization is at a different place in their Economic Vitality journey, we are offering a grant with Downtown Professionals Network whose outlook will be tailored to each community.

For those looking to deepen their EV work, the DPN’s 3-month Market Study Services will help you dig into demographic, psychographic and retail sales gap data in your downtown, including designing and reviewing customer and business surveys, facilitating local planning sessions, and defining a cohesive and actionable EV plan.

For those ready to take the next step, DPN’s 3-to-4-month Ready to Recruit (R2R) services help communities, organizations, and economic development professionals create, fine-tune, or take the scope of their business retention, development, and recruitment efforts to a new level. Services include a mix of local research activities, technical assistance, and training to position local Main Street staff and leaders for business development and recruitment success.

Applicants may request a maximum of $7,500 in grant funding and must provide a 1:3 match to the grant received, meaning grantees must provide at least 25% of the total project cost of approximately $10,000 (depending on the exact services).

Revisit slides about these services from Stephanie’s Summer Leadership Meeting presentation here, and check out the outcomes here and here.

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


Please use the Save-and-Continue feature at your own risk and for same-day submissions only. Generated links sent to your email expire after 30 days and are not reliable in storing your answers and attachments. We encourage you to review the entire application, prepare your submission in your own text document and file folder, before finally submitting your answers and attachments in the online form above.