Kentucky Main Street Program communities contributed $110M to economy in 2016

Published 8:10 am Thursday, March 9, 2017


News release

The Kentucky Main Street Program (KYMS) announced this week that 39 participating communities reported cumulative investment of $109,741,515 in their commercial downtown districts in 2016, a number that includes $75,070,029 of private investment matched by $30,920,494 in public improvements. This total was up significantly from the $76 million of cumulative investment reported by 44 communities in 2015.

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Administered by the Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office, Kentucky Main Street is the oldest statewide downtown economic revitalization program in the nation, based on the National Main Street Center (NMSC) Four-Point Approach emphasizing organization, promotion, design and economic vitality. Since the program’s inception in 1979, KYMS can document more than $3.9 billion of public-private investment throughout the Commonwealth.

The revitalization statistics were announced during the KYMS Winter Meeting in Frankfort recently, which began  with an advocacy day at the Capitol where local directors displayed exhibits about their programs and met with legislators. The day concluded with both House and Senate floor resolutions, introduced by Rep. Chad McCoy of Bardstown and Sen. Robin Webb of Grayson, respectively, which were adopted in each chamber by voice vote.

According to the resolutions, “Kentucky Main Street is at its core a self-help program, locally administered and funded through private investment partnered with public support, which achieves success by addressing a variety of issues that face traditional business districts and re-establishing downtown as the community’s focal point and center of activity.”

In addition to statewide investment numbers, the resolutions also noted that in 2016, Kentucky Main Street communities reported:

·       1,452 new jobs created in Main Street districts

·       234 new businesses created

·       81 new housing units in downtowns

·       198 building rehabilitation projects completed

·       $51,433,241 invested in historic building rehabilitation

On Thursday, directors met at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet building to hear program updates and special guest speakers, including presentations on bicycle and pedestrian projects and Tax Increment Financing.

Also on Thursday, KYMS Administrator Kitty Dougoud announced that 29 communities have achieved accreditation for 2017 as certified by both Kentucky Main Street and the National Main Street Center. These are Bardstown, Bellevue, Cadiz, Campbellsville, Carrollton, Covington, Cynthiana, Danville, Dawson Springs, Frankfort, Guthrie, Harrodsburg, Henderson, LaGrange, London, Maysville, Morehead, Murray, New Castle, Paducah, Perryville, Pikeville, Pineville, Princeton, Shelbyville, Springfield, Taylorsville, Williamsburg and Winchester. Accredited programs have met all of the 10 performance standards set forth by NMSC.

Affiliate programs have met at least five of the 10 accreditation standards, and Network programs are those in the beginning phases of the program or in some form of transition. Those earning Affiliate status are Marion, Paintsville, Scottsville, and the Tri-Cities program includingBenham, Cumberland and Lynch; and Network programs are Dayton, Middlesboro, Nicholasville and Wayland.

Annual reinvestment statistics are collected from all participating Accredited, Affiliate and Network communities.

“The economic and community impact of the Kentucky Main Street Program has been particularly dramatic in rural and small towns across the Commonwealth,” said Regina Stivers, Deputy Secretary of the Cabinet of Tourism, Arts and Heritage. “By helping preserve historic resources unique to each community, focusing on small businesses, and creating a halo effect that encourages additional investment, the program supports the cabinet’s mission of improving quality of life and enhancing opportunities for heritage tourism.”

Kentucky Main Street’s mission is to prioritize the preservation and adaptive reuse of historic buildings as the framework supporting downtown revitalization and economic development strategies. Participation requires local commitment and financial support, with a Main Street director to administer the program in partnership with a volunteer board. In turn, KHC provides technical and design assistance, training and educational opportunities, on-site visits, a resource center, national consultants and grant funding, when available.

For more about Kentucky Main Street, visit or contact Kitty Dougoud502-564-7005, ext. 127.

An agency of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, the Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office is responsible for the identification, protection and preservation of prehistoric resources and historic buildings, sites and cultural resources throughout the Commonwealth, in partnership with other state and federal agencies, local communities and interested citizens.