What is the Main Street Program?
The Main Street Program is a comprehensive revitalization program that fosters growth and development of traditional and often historic downtown business districts. The Program focuses on four points to help achieve this growth and development: Organization, Promotion, Design and Economic Vitality.
Organization aims to create a strong support system for the continuance of the program’s efforts to revitalize the downtown area. Organization focuses on volunteer recruitment and training, as well as creating strong bonds with other local groups who share the same goal in facilitating redevelopment in our downtown. This point encourages the creation of volunteer committees to assist in the effort and bring locals into the action.
Promotion refers to the effort to attract people to the downtown business district. The Bradford Main Street Program seeks to attract locals as well as tourists through special events such as The Bradford Wine Walk, Holiday Open House, Shop Small Business Saturday, and Old Fashioned Christmas. Our program also assists in planning and hosting merchant sales events such as Ladies’ Nights, seasonal sale events, and sidewalk sales to help increase our merchants’ visibility. The Downtown Bradford Business District Authority serves as our primary promotions committee and is essential to the planning of these events.
Design focuses on creating an inviting downtown for all to enjoy. In addition to making sure our sidewalks are clean and dotted with beautiful seasonal plant life, our Main Street Program ensures that the historic integrity of our buildings is not impaired. The Historic Architecture Review Board is responsible for reviewing and approving all alterations made to buildings within the district. Approval from the board must be attained before a building permit form the City will be issued. Approved paint schemes, window replacements and exterior repairs may also be partially funded by the Main Street Program’s Façade Improvement Program. Keeping a historic building’s exterior in top shape can often be a weighty and expensive task. The Façade improvement program allows for a fifty percent reimbursement of the cost of improvements to the exterior of a building. In 2015, over $32,000 was reimbursed to building owners who took on a façade project under the program.
Economic Vitality involves efforts to ensure our business district is spatially and technologically prepared to support a healthy business economy. This includes the repurposing of historic buildings to retain retail and office spaces where none existed, and updating transit and transportation to accommodate the flow of people into and out of our district. Our district has many historic buildings that were constructed for a specific purpose that is now obsolete. Our program, through partnerships, grants, and studies, seeks to find new use for these historic buildings instead of razing them and decreasing the historic value of the entire district.