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Join the Main Street Program

Colorado Main Street communities are identified in three tiers, begining with Candidate Community and moving on to Main Street Community and eventually Main Street Graduate Community as local programs progress and acheive greater levels of self-sufficiency and success. 


In order to become a Main Street Candidate, communities must submit a Letter of Intent.  DOLA is happy to help communities in capacity-building and organization prior to submitting a Letter of Intent in order to assure that the community is ready.


Criteria for Participation in the Main Street Program


The tiered program is designed to build capacity as communities mature and move through the program, by providing technical assistance, education, and training to help communities meet the goals established by the local program. Below are some examples of what is expected of Main Street Communities as they progress in their revitalization of downtown.

Candidate Community: 

During this period the Candidate community should establish and build the organization’s structure, leadership, and resources. This phase usually lasts up to 3 years during which time communities are working towards establishing a lasting local Main Street program. Criteria to become a candidate include: 


  • Active public/private participation in downtown revitalization
  • Main Street 101 Training for all board and committee members
  • Have an assessment or downtown plan with implementation steps
  • Have a dedicated point of contact for training and communications
  • Complete an annual work plan
  • Have a “steering committee” and are working toward forming a board and committees
  • Are working on developing historic building inventories and partnering with History Colorado
  • Have begun to collect data regarding your downtown (real estate inventory, cost per sq. foot, market data, etc.)
  • Complete a Letter of Intent to become a Main Street Candidate
Main Street Community: 

At this stage, the community has the basic infrastructure in place to run an effective Main Street program. Designated Main Street programs:


  • Have an organizational structure including an active board and committees, incorporation (as appropriate) and by-laws
  • Complete annual work planning each year
  • Consistent use of or develop a logo/brand
  • Hold or sponsor promotional events and/or campaigns
  • Have a fund raising program for downtown projects
  • Adopt a multi-year strategic plan (this could include a Resource Team Report)
  • Allocate funding for a professional Main Street manager (half-time for communities under 5,000 people, or full-time for communities over 5,000 people)
  • Maintain adequate funding for the local Main Street program
  • Work toward National Accreditation Standards 
  • Work toward becoming (or are) Certified Local Governments (CLGs) through History Colorado
  • Demonstrate community awareness of the Main Street program
  • Able to refer or provide assistance to small businesses
Main Street Graduate Community: 

Once a community’s program has matured and is established, it may move to the final tier. Graduate Programs:


  • Are Certified Local Governments (CLGs) through History Colorado
  • Maintain secure, diversified funds for staff and program
  • Enjoy a strong business mix in downtown
  • Demonstrate a strong historic preservation ethic
  • Meet all of the National Accreditation Standards 
  • Have a multi-year strategic plan (this could include a Resource Team Report)
  • Complete annual work planning each year
  • Are well versed about Main Street practices
  • Provide assistance to Candidates as a mentor or trainer
Submitting a Letter of Intent to Become a Main Street Candidate 

Letters of Intent for Candidacy are accepted once a year and will be due by July 1. Please contact DOLA staff if your community is considering applying to the program for candidacy. Staff may work with your community to help explore the program, decide if it is right for your community, then complete the Letter of Intent Form and include the requested attachments.