Raise your voice to support Main Street-led economic recovery
Main Street is an economic development tool rooted in historic preservation – it capitalizes on our unique assets and provides a framework for communities to build local resiliency.
In Washington State, the Main Street movement is fueled by the Washington State Main Street Program (WSMSP), a statewide program of the Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation. This program represents 65 towns across the state – ranging from Vancouver to Colville, Dayton to Port Townsend. These local Main Street Communities work tirelessly to support small businesses, create resources and partnerships, and build community.
Not only is Main Street the most effective economic recovery tool our communities have, it is also a proven positive return on investment. For every dollar the State of Washington has allocated to WSMSP, the economic activity generated in Main Street Communities has generated $1.58 back to the state in tax revenues. That’s a 58% return on investment.
Now is the time to bolster the WSMSP and its network of local Main Street Communities. The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, as a statewide advocacy organization, supports these measures:
1. DIRECT SERVICES TO MAIN STREET COMMUNITIES: WSMSP can ramp up direct recovery services to communities across the state, with an emphasis on organizational stability and small business retention. Services would include direct business support (changing business models and design accommodations), web development and e-commerce, community ecosystem training, and micro-business development. WSMSP would provide both individualized economic guidance and statewide resources to small businesses and the Main Street organizations supporting them.
- Budget request: Increase WSMSP funding to $350,000 annually (currently at $240,000 annually through DAHP)
2. SUSTAINABLE FUNDING FOR MAIN STREET COMMUNITIES: These local nonprofit organizations are lifelines to our state’s small businesses and critical economic recovery partners. There is already an economically viable (positive fiscal return for the state) financing program established in Washington State through which Main Street Communities currently meet 25-75% of their operating budgets: the Main Street Tax Credit Incentive Program. Enhancing this existing program will allow sustainable local funding that doesn’t put Main Streets in competition with small businesses or other nonprofit organizations.
- Budget request: Increase the overall cap of the MSTCIP to $4,000,000 in tax credits (currently at $2,500,000 annually) and put in place additional improvements to the program enabling small businesses to continue contributing to local Main Street organizations. Fiscal impact of $1,500,000 annually.
3. CAPITAL GRANTS FOR MAIN STREETS: A new capital grant program for $5,000,000, specifically to support commercial buildings in Main Street districts. The grants would support small businesses by providing funds for safety improvements, restorations, and physical improvements to their properties. This initiative would support both construction jobs and improve employment conditions for the small businesses that will benefit directly from the capital projects this grant will support.
- Budget request: $5,000,000 to DAHP to administer a Main Street Capital Grant program
To really make these budget requests heard, we need your help. Please contact your legislators and encourage them to include Main Street-led economic recovery programs in the next state budget.
Stay in the loop on the Washington Trust’s advocacy work (including these measures) and learn how you can help raise your voice in support of historic preservation and Washington Main Street. Click below to sign up for emails and make sure to select “Preservation Issues and Advocacy Alerts” from the list as an area of interest!