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Welcome to the Main Street Community Toolkit! This page is intended to serve as a resource for existing Indiana Main Street members: OCRA’s Downtown Affiliate Network (ODAN), Indiana Accredited Main Street (IAMS), and Nationally Accredited Main Street (NAMS). If you have any questions, please contact your Community Liaison.

Indiana Main Street Monthly Newsletter– Stories, updates, and more! If you are an existing Main Street community and you need to be added to the distribution, please contact DeeDee Leonard, IMS Program Coordinator.

Indiana Main Street Network Facebook Page – A great place to receive updates and network with fellow Indiana Main Streets!

If you are an existing Main Street community and you need access, please contact DeeDee Leonard, IMS Program Coordinator.

Workshops and Training Sessions

A variety of workshops and training sessions, including an annual conference, are available to participating communities. All workshops are organized to bring optimal learning opportunities to Main Street staff and volunteers. These events are delivered throughout the state and often include travel-friendly options like tele-video conferencing and regionally based events. Indiana Main Street welcomes suggestions and requests for workshops and training sessions.

Community Exchanges

The Main Street Community Exchanges are designed to bring Main Street communities from across the state to various locations to learn about best practices, new initiatives, and gain insight into other communities' unique approach to implementing Main Street. The exchanges feature learning opportunities, lunches, networking, and tours. Each exchange is held on a Friday and is an all day event.

2022 Community Exchanges:
  • May 13 - Main Street Shelbyville, Inc.
  • June 24 - Destination Huntingburg
  • July 22 - Develop Culver
  • Nov. 18 - Auburn Main Street
  • Dec. 9 - Jeffersonville Main Street

Toolkits & Guides

Is your Main Street and Chamber looking to merge? This guide has been compiled from Main Street America’s online networking platform, The Point. The following is not intended to serve as advice from OCRA or Indiana Main Street, but rather, from fellow Main Street professionals.

Crisis Communication: A crisis situation is rarely predictable, but it is extremely important to plan and strategize for a host of difficult scenarios, including how to communicate when issues arise. Use this toolkit to help identify, preparing for and handling a variety of different situations.

Using Downtown Spaces to Respond to COVID-19: This toolkit is primarily intended for Indiana Main Street directors but can be easily adapted to fit the needs of other individuals or organizations. Step-by-step directions and planning considerations are provided for each option, as well as some background information on the programs and links to other resources that may be helpful.

Absentee Property Owners 101: This toolkit and webinar outlines potential remedies that Main Street organizations could utilize when facing issues related to dilapidated buildings whose owners lack commitment to maintain their building. Questions covered in this toolkit and webinar include: What actions can Main Street organizations take to remedy absentee property owners? Why does action by the Main Street organization matter? What does code enforcement look like? When should I seek advice of council?

Code Enforcement 101: This toolkit and webinar covers three methods for utilizing code enforcement and also explores the Main Street organization’s role in advocating for stronger code enforcement. Questions covered include: What types of code enforcement exist? How can my Main Street organization hold owners accountable to building and maintenance codes? What if my community doesn’t have code enforcement? What do examples of code look like?

MOU & Contract for Services 101: This toolkit and webinar covers the differences between Memorandums of Understanding and Contracts for Services and how having one or the other might benefit the Main Street program’s relationship with local municipality. Questions covered include: What’s the difference between a MOU and Contract for Services? How would my Main Street organization build a MOU? How can my Main Street organization build a close relationship with local municipality? What should my Main Street organization keep in mind after an MOU or Contract is established with the municipality?

Indiana Main Street - Annual Report

The reporting process gives our office an opportunity to utilize the information collected to conduct a yearly assessment of each local organization. There are two reports, the annual assessment and the return on investment survey.  Attending a community exchange, Office of Community and Rural Affairs regional conference, or other certified training by IMS fulfills the other portion of the assessment process.

In addition to the re-certification process, the information and feedback collected from this report provides OCRA with the information needed to develop the most effective strategy for our team to provide your organization with the best technical assistance and programming.

If you want to know what questions to anticipate, click here.

If you have questions about completing the report or need other assistance, please contact your Community Liaison, a map can be found on our website.

Indiana Main Street Board Member Orientation Toolkit

The following resources will assist local programs in orienting board members to what Main Street is and what it means to be a board member. These resources are intended to complement whatever board orientation materials have been created at the local program level. There is no requirement to use these resources, rather, they are intended to fill potential gaps as local programs onboard new board members.

Indiana Main Street Board Orientation webinar:
This webinar, hosted by Jackie Swihart and Abby Chapman of Indiana Main Street, is intended for local Indiana Main Street programs to use as they are onboarding new members to the organization. It provides an overview of the following (time stamps available for convenience):

  • OCRA (0:01:35)
  • Indiana Main Street (0:03:55)
  • National Main Street Center (0:15:10)
  • Main Street Approach (0:34:05)
  • Board roles and responsibilities (0:53:30)
  • Other roles within Main Street (1:24:40)
  • Recorded webinar, and a copy of the PowerPoint slides

The Main Street Board Member’s Handbook:
The success of your Main Street district revitalization effort depends largely on the board of director’s ability to identify and mobilize resources, build volunteer support, develop new leadership, and maintain clear focus on the district’s needs and opportunities.

The Board Member's Handbook is a must-read for programs looking to understand the process of running a board, gaining public and private support, recruiting strategic members, and developing an annual work plan. Download the handbook here.

Revitalizing Main Street Handbook:
Revitalizing Main Street provides a detailed framework for downtown growth and development. Short on theory and long on practical approaches and useful examples, this comprehensive handbook covers virtually all aspects of downtown revitalization from developing a mission statement to bringing new businesses downtown to streetscape improvements.

For ease of use, the handbook is organized into four major sections which cover: Organization, Promotion, Design, and Economic Restructuring. This comprehensive publication is required reading for all commercial district revitalization professionals. Download the handbook here.

Main Street in Action Videos
These five, short Main Street America videos highlight the power of the Main Street movement, Main Street Approach, economic impact of Main Street, and the incredible volunteers that make Main Street’s grassroots network so effective.

  • Power of the Movement
    The Main Street America Network helps to breathe new life into the places people call home. Learn more about this powerful movement of organizations, individuals, volunteers, and local leaders making a difference in small towns, mid-sized cities and urban areas across the country. Video:
  • The Main Street Approach
    The Main Street Approach helps communities get started with revitalization, and grows with them over time. Learn more about the time-tested, market-based, community-led framework: Video:
  • Economic Impact of Main Street
    Since 1980, Main Street America programs have generated over $71 billion in reinvestment, 132,000 net new businesses, 584,000 net new jobs and 267,000 building rehabilitations.
  • A Grassroots Network
    Main Street is so successful is because of the local leaders on the ground. The Main Street America Network is comprised of some of the most enthusiastic, passionate, committed people you'll ever find. Learn more about this nationwide movement of community changemakers: Video:
  • Main Streets are the Heart of Our Communities
    See the power of Main Street’s potential: to revive local economies, bring communities together, and forge the future for cities and towns across the country. This video features scenes from Main Streets across the country, as well as experts and practitioners including Ed McMahon, Senior Fellow at the Urban Land Institute and Chair of the National Main Street Center (NMSC) Board of Directors; Irvin Henderson, member of the NMSC Board of Directors; Anwar Saleem, Executive Director of H Street Main Street; and Patrice Frey, President and CEO of the NMSC. Full video: