Sunday, May 26, 2024

Louisiana’s Main Street Program Marks 40th Anniversary

by BIZ Magazine

Louisiana’s Main Street program is celebrating a significant milestone as it marks its 40th anniversary since its establishment in 1984. What began with just four designated Main Street communities has now grown to encompass 36 designated Louisiana Main Street communities, including the original quartet of Donaldsonville, Franklin, Hammond, and Houma.

The Louisiana Main Street program has been instrumental in revitalizing commercial districts across the state by providing a roadmap for locally-owned and locally-driven prosperity. Leveraging a proven framework that has transformed over 1,600 communities nationwide, Main Street Louisiana has breathed new life into struggling downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts, making them vibrant hubs of commerce and community once again.

Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser highlighted the unparalleled impact of the Main Street Approach, emphasizing its effectiveness as an economic recovery tool. “There is an unprecedented level of interest in Main Street because people can see the difference in designated Main Street communities,” said Nungesser. “It is the most effective economic recovery tool our communities have.”

In 2022, the Louisiana Main Street program achieved a historic milestone, surpassing $1 billion in public and private investment. This investment includes $520 million in private investments and $527 million in public investments, underscoring the program’s significant contribution to economic development in the state.

Key statistics from the program’s impact include the creation of 15,502 net new jobs, establishment of 3,713 net new businesses, and over $461 million in new construction or rehabilitation of buildings. Additionally, more than 2 million volunteer hours have been dedicated to supporting Main Street initiatives.

Main Street America, recognizing the outstanding performance of Louisiana Main Street communities, awarded accreditation to 22 Louisiana Main Street communities last year. These communities were acknowledged for their exemplary commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization.

Over the years, several Louisiana Main Street communities have been honored with the prestigious Great American Main Street Award by the National Main Street Center. Notable Louisiana winners include Hammond Downtown Development District, Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard Main Street in New Orleans, Natchitoches Main Street, and New Iberia Main Street.

Looking ahead, Louisiana Main Street will commemorate its 40th anniversary throughout 2024, culminating in a special recognition at the 2024 Destination Downtown regional conference in Vicksburg, Mississippi, from September 11-13, 2024.

As Main Street America continues to make significant strides in revitalizing older and historic commercial districts nationwide, Louisiana’s Main Street program remains a powerful economic driver, enriching the social and cultural fabric of communities across the state.

For more information on Louisiana’s Main Street program, visit the Louisiana Main Street webpage.

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