Main Street Burlington is a 501I(3) non-profit, community-based organization dedicated to revitalizing the historic downtown area of Burlington City, via preservation-based economic development.
We believe that the vision of a healthy downtown – economically thriving, diverse, welcoming to residents and visitors, aesthetically pleasing – is within our reach.
Using the time-tested model of the Main Street America movement, we’re in the early stages of building awareness, increasing membership and developing and implementing transformation strategies. Transformation strategies are generated through grass-roots community engagement, market analysis and working with the city government, residents and investors. These strategies focus on economic vitality, downtown design/aesthetics, promotion of the downtown, and a vibrant organization of members networked into the community and its organizations.
Over a decade ago, a group of citizens from Burlington City decided to organize for the purpose of creating a revitalization movement for the downtown area. They saw businesses struggling and closing as a result of the growth of big box stores and on-line shopping. It was time to do something about it. These concerned residents decided to become part of the national Main Street America program. This program has had repeated success all over the country, in cities big and small. It seemed like the perfect approach for Burlington City.
In 2006 Main Street Burlington was established and became a 501c3 organization. During that decade, Main Street Burlington had made some significant progress, but ultimately the political winds shifted, and at one point the group lost the vital support of city hall. In recent years, several people have tried to reinvigorate the program with mixed results. Nonetheless, the need for an effective group to be a driving force in the economic fortunes of the downtown businesses never went away. The need was always there, and still remains.
Recently, a new energy has returned to Main Street Burlington, driven by a wave of entrepreneurs opening up small businesses in town, believing that the city has the assets to become a very successful center of economic activity if nurtured the right way. This sentiment has been echoed by investors coming into town, thinking outside of the box on how to best repurpose some of the historical buildings that sadly have been dormant for too long.
In 2019, Main Street Burlington announced city wide that we would start having monthly meetings open to business owners, commercial property owners and residents. Many have started attending these meetings and have shown a motivation to be proactive in the community. As a result, for example, Main Street Burlington partnered with AMEX for Shop Small Saturday winning national recognition – one of only 16 communities nation-wide to receive such distinction! This proved to be a great example of what the community can do when we work together towards a common goal. And we are just getting started.
National Main Street America
Main Street America is a grassroots network of communities, organizations and individuals focused on revitalizing their local historic commercial districts. For over 40 years, Main Street America has provided a blueprint to communities looking to replicate successful preservation-based development pioneered by the National Main Street Center, Inc., a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Across the country, thousands of communities have transformed their economies, leveraged local leadership, and improved overall quality of life by developing a focused plan to revitalize downtown – the heart and soul of any community.