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Indiana Main Street

In 2020, the Office of Community and Rural Affairs launched a new levels system to the Indiana Main Street program and opened for new applications. Visit this page for more information.

Since 1985, the Indiana Main Street Program (IMS) has been helping communities revitalize the economy, appearance, and image of their downtown commercial districts using the National Main Street Center’s successful Main Street Approach. Main Street is a comprehensive, incremental approach to revitalization built around a community’s unique heritage and attributes. Using local resources and initiative, the state program helps communities develop and provides support for the implementation of their own strategies to stimulate long-term economic growth and pride in the heart of the communities’ downtown or commercial core.

In 2005, the IMS Program transitioned to the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, where it is currently managed. IMS provides access to information, help getting focused, and community support and guidance to individuals and organizations interested in downtown revitalization. It also serves as a general clearinghouse for the latest tools and techniques in downtown development. General information, project development assistance information, and other resource materials are also available. The state program is a partner, but true revitalization success is built squarely on local commitment, initiative and follow-through.

The Indiana Main Street program support of its designated local IMS programs has resulted in significant investment and economic growth from the bottom-up in Main Street districts. Since 1985, Indiana Main Street communities have achieved:

4,740 NET new & expanded businesses 

29,632 NET full and part time lobs

$3.5 billion in private reinvestment

$2.0 billion in public reinvestment

9,367 building rehabilitation projects

9142 new housing units

2,485 public improvement projects

Find an Indiana small business in your downtown using this map

In Fall 2020, OCRA created this downtown businesses map to help promote and encourage people to shop in person at one of your downtown retailers, restaurants, and more. Check out the map below of small businesses across the State!

For further Shop Small resources, check out:

Bi-Monthly Regional Calls

In fall 2020, OCRA began hosting bi-monthly regional calls. Every other month, each region will convene on a conference call to give updates on local activities and to network with other Main Streets in your area. Check back for an upcoming schedule.

Not every program is expected to join every call, we understand that conflicts may arise. It is, however, an expectation as a designee of IMS that one representative from each local program join and participate when scheduling and time allows. Depending on participants on the call, calls may not last the entire 90 minutes.

  • Northeast: Every second Wednesday of every other month starting January 13
  • Northwest: Every third Thursday of every other month starting January 20
  • East Central: Every fourth Wednesday of every other month starting January 27
  • West Central: Every second Wednesday of every other month starting February 10
  • Southeast: Every third Thursday of every other month starting February 17
  • Southwest: Every fourth Wednesday of every other month starting February 24

A general agenda for each call is as follows:

  • Welcome
  • Indiana Main Street/OCRA updates
  • Brief updates from each Main Street program (2-3 minutes for each program, updates on current programming, challenges, successes, etc.)
  • Questions or other topics to pose to the group

If you’re not sure what region your program falls under, please refer to the OCRA map. If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or specific topics you would like to discuss prior to the calls, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Jackie Swihart.

2019 Indiana Main Street - Return on Investment

2019 IMS Return on Investment graphic

Also, use this guide to help promote what your Main Street organization is doing in the community along with the IMS infographic above.

Franklin, Bad Dad Brewing and The Ladders Trail clinch the title of “Best of Indiana” 2019

On November 4, Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Tourism Development (IOTD) announced today the winners for the 2019 Best of Indiana people's choice campaign.

The winners are:

  • Best Brewery: Bad Dad Brewing Co. – Fairmount, Grant County
  • Best Hiking Trail: The Ladders Trail (Trail 3) at Turkey Run State Park – Parke County
  • Best Main Street: Franklin – Johnson County

Best of Indiana – Main Streets

IOTD enlisted the help of the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA), which oversees Indiana’s Main Street program, to select a list of towns and cities offering the ideal Main Street destinations. All of the top 10 are part of OCRA’s Main Street program. Voters selected Franklin in Johnson County as having the best Main Street in Indiana. Franklin has made significant changes to its downtown over the past few years. Officials said this has brought numerous new businesses to the downtown area, including restaurants and shops. Franklin is considered a walkable downtown that resulted in more activities and festivals on the square. Victorian mansions line King and Jefferson streets, giving it that quaint hometown feel.

Located along the Ohio River, Madison in Jefferson County was voted number two in the main street voting. Madison is known for its historic buildings, rich history, unique businesses and shops, and its beautiful scenery, parks, and recreational activities. Madison’s Main Street program was one of the first nationally accredited main street programs in the country.

Downtown Angola tops the list at number three. The main feature of its downtown is the New England style public square with the Soldiers’ Monument at its center. Angola has also invested heavily in quality of place initiatives, like their Art Alley, Brohaw theater renovation and large events, like Cruise to the Monument car show. Business are also flocking to the downtown with 11 joining last year, to bring the total to 141.

“The top two main streets are nationally accredited Main Street communities, and Franklin is a great example of multiple groups working together for the betterment of the community,” said Misty Weisensteiner, director of Indiana Tourism. “If you haven’t visited any of these local spots that made the list, I encourage everyone to explore a new one.”

Click here to view the full press release.