The Main Street Approach


A vision of success alone is not enough. Communities must work together to identify key strategies, known as Community Transformation Strategies that will provide a clear sense of priorities and direction for the revitalization efforts. Typically communities will find two to three Community Transformation Strategies are needed to help reach a community vision. These strategies will focus on both long and short-term actions that will move a community closer to achieving its goals.

Implementation of these strategies is carried out through work that aligns with the four key areas Main Streets have been using as a guiding framework for over 35 years: Economic Vitality, Organization, Design, and Promotions, known collectively as the Main Street Four Points.

Economic Vitality

Revitalizing a downtown or neighborhood commercial district requires focusing on the underlying Economic Vitality of the district. This work is rooted in a commitment to making the most of a community’s unique sense of place and existing historic assets, harnessing local economic development opportunities and creating a supportive business environment for small business owners and the growing scores of entrepreneurs, innovators, and localists alike. With the nation-wide growing interest in living downtown, supporting downtown housing is also a key element of building Economic Vitality.


A strong organizational foundation is key for a sustainable Main Street revitalization effort. This can take many forms, from a standalone nonprofit organization, to a program housed in a municipality or existing community development entity. Regardless of the organizational type, the focus is on ensuring that all organizational resources (partners, funding, volunteers, etc.) are mobilized to effectively implement the Community Transformative Strategies.


A focus on Design supports a community’s transformation by enhancing the physical elements of downtown while capitalizing on the unique assets that set the commercial district apart. Main Streets enhance their appeal to residents and visitors alike with attention to public space through the creation of pedestrian friendly streets, inclusion of public art in unexpected areas, visual merchandising, adaptive reuse of older and historic buildings, more efficiently-designed buildings, transit oriented development, and much more.

Keep Hart Clean

Leadership Hart and Leadership Hart Youth are partnering together for this year’s community project. As an economic development goal, LH and LHY are organizing a community clean up event. Often times, when economic development professionals bring potential businesses in to look at sites, they will want to see the community. If the roads are littered with trash, it can be enough to remove any community from the potential list. It is with that in mind that #LoveWhereYouLive and #KeepHartClean was developed. On April 27th, we invite the community to come together for a few hours in the morning to clean up our roads. We hope to see you there!

The Importance of Green Space

I wanted to share with you my thoughts on the importance of Greenspaces in the community. I think we can all say anecdotally that spending a day in the park, either at play, at a picnic, or just lounging about is a great way to spend time. I have a strong belief that the addition of a greenspace in or near our downtown area will go far to achieving our mission to Live Well, Play Well, Hartwell! That said, a greenspace is not just a place to catch a few hours of fun; greenspaces are an economic driver in the community. Let me share with you some economic realities. The following data comes from Project Evergreen, a nonprofit organization that has a goal of a greener, cooler earth and happy, healthier people.

Fast growth, major economic impact. According to a USDA-funded research report, the environmental horticulture industry [Green Industry], “is one of the fastest growing segments of the nation’s agricultural economy.”5 Its economic impact was estimated to include: * $147.8 billion in output * $64.3 billion in labor income * $6.9 billion in indirect business taxes * 1,964,339 jobs * $95.1 billion in value added

Businesses benefit. Roadside Studies by the University of Washington stated that drivers indicated it was easier to locate roadside businesses when they were framed by trees and vegetation, rather than having this green material removed.6

Parks improve property value. There is a significant link between the value of a property and its proximity to parks, greenbelts and other green spaces. Studies of three neighborhoods in Boulder, Colo. indicated that property values decreased by $4.20 for each foot away from a greenbelt.7

Green space helps decrease air conditioning costs. Here are some useful references: * According to the California Energy Commission: “Planting the correct trees, shrubs, vines and groundcover can make your home both warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. In fact, the right type of tree can reduce your summer cooling costs by 20 to 40 percent!”8 * Computer models devised by the U.S. Department of Energy predict that the proper placement of only three trees will save an average household between $100 and $250 in energy costs annually.9 * The cooling effect of an average size lawn is equal to about 9 tons of air conditioning.10

Views of plants increase job satisfaction. Employees with an outside view of plants experience less job pressure and greater job satisfaction than workers viewing man-made objects or having no outside view. They also report fewer headaches and other ailments than workers without the view.11

Nature increases worker productivity. Psychologists have found that access to plants and green spaces provides a sense of rest and allows workers to be more productive.12

Landscaping renews business districts. Greening of business districts increases community pride and positive perception of an area, drawing customers to the businesses.13

Quality landscaping means quality goods. A recent study found that consumers would be willing to pay, on average, a 12% premium for goods purchased in retail establishments that are accompanied by quality landscaping.14

Employment and tourism boost. Employment opportunities are associated with the creation and long term maintenance of urban open space, as well as tourism dollars of visitors from parks, gardens and civic areas (Woolley 2003).15

Increases retail activity. Studies have proven that greenery and flowers attract shoppers and residents to urban areas…spurring economic growth.16

Business growth. Small businesses choosing a new business location rank the amount of open space and proximity to parks and recreation as the number-one priority in site selection.17

Protects drainage systems. The crown of a large tree is a freestanding anti-flood reservoir, in some cases intercepting so much rainfall that more than 1,500 gallons a year evaporates instead of hitting the ground. Chop down the tree, and you increase the volume of storm water a city must manage— something that especially affects older cities with aging drainage systems.18