The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs has announced improvements to the Indiana Main Street program.

As part of the reorganization, OCRA says current Main Street organizations will be categorized into a particular level. From there, communities can progress to different levels by meeting different requirements, incentives and benchmarks.

“It was crucial for the Indiana Main Street program to align with national standards and other state programs, which is why OCRA took the time to thoroughly review and research improvements,” said Matt Crouch, interim executive director of OCRA. “Implementing a new levels structure allows OCRA to better serve and support communities that are actively working the Main Street Approach, while also cultivating their capacity for future growth.”

OCRA says it will adopt the Indiana Main Street Levels to the program, a system that will allow its member communities to engage in long-range planning and downtown revitalization at three distinct levels:

  • OCRA’s Downtown Affiliate Network: organizations that lack capacity or resources to work the four points holistically, prefer to specialize in event-related activities only, or lack the physical or historical capacity necessary to qualify as a Main Street.
  • Indiana Accredited Main Street: working the Four Points effectively but may lack a paid staff person or a paid membership to National Main Street Center.
  • Nationally Accredited Main Street: meeting all MSA’s Accreditation standards.

The Levels System was influenced by the accreditation standards for the National Main Street Center and the Leadership Council of the Main Street America Coordinators.

Since 1985, the Indiana Main Street Program 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 downtown.

The office says it will once again begin accepting applications for new organizations to join the program.

An informational webinar will be held on Thursday. The organization says current Main Street organizations will be notified of their level placement on November 17.

Applications for new organizations must be submitted by March 5.