As a Main Street America™ Accredited program, Carthage Texas Main Street is a recognized leading program among the national network of more than 1,200 neighborhoods and communities who share both a commitment to creating high-quality places and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. All Main Street America™ Accredited programs meet a set of National Accreditation Standards of Performance as outlined by the National Main Street Center.
"Carthage has been a Texas Main Street City since 2001 and has earned accreditation from the National Main Street Center every year since, something that I'm extremely proud of," said Carthage Main Street Manager Cindy Deloney. "This means that we are doing things right, that we are going in the right direction. The National Main Street Center is a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and to me, historic preservation isn't just about saving an individual building, it's about building community. It's about people, the economy, the environment. It's about well-being, and most of all, it's about learning from our past so we can improve our future."
In 1999, the National Main Street Center implemented this process to recognize local Main Street revitalization programs for their individual annual progress and improvement through the Main Street Four Point Approach™. Through the Approach, local programs focus on a myriad of activities within four strategic areas. This includes creating Economic Vitality through making the most of a community's unique sense of place and existing historic assets, harnessing local economic opportunity and creating a supportive business environment for small businesses. Design supports a community's transformation by enhancing the physical elements of downtown while capitalizing on unique assets that set the commercial district apart. Through promotion, downtown is positioned as the center of the community and hub of economic activity. The organization strategy area mobilizes the resources and partners needed to effectively show measurable outcomes from a Main Street revitalization effort. National Accreditation will be formally announced in May at the National Main Street Now conference in Pittsburg, Pa.
Texas currently has 89 designated Main Street programs, making it one of the largest in the country. The Texas program was one of the first state coordinating programs to be established in 1981, and since that time, it has been a part of the Texas Historical Commission, the state agency for historic preservation. Year-end reinvestment statistics show cumulative reinvestment over this time from all programs that have participated at $3.38 billion, with the creation of more than 35,000 jobs and almost 5,000 small businesses.
Volunteers are a very important aspect of the Main Street model because they help leverage the impact a small staff can have and also provide an avenue for the whole community to be a part of the success of downtown. Volunteer leadership works with staff to carry out the local program. Over the past year, 123,885 volunteer hours were contributed to Texas Main Street programs. Since 1999, more than 1.4 million volunteer hours have been contributed. The economic value of this to local public budgets is more than $35.6 million.