UTAH MAIN STREET PROGRAM
Utah communities foster downtowns with distinctive character, thriving businesses, and welcoming spaces for residents and visitors alike.
The Utah Main Street Program (UMSP) cultivates vibrant downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts through place-based economic development and community preservation.
The Utah Main Street Program is a Coordinating Program of Main Street America. UMSP seeks to build a strategy centered around a community’s unique heritage and attributes, focusing on what’s special to make it a great place to live and visit. The program provides a framework and resources to support Utah Main Street Program Affiliates’ downtown revitalization efforts and requires the community to commit to the time-tested Main Street Four-Point Approach® to downtown revitalization developed by Main Street America™ which includes:
- Sustainable Organization
- Effective Promotion
- Quality Design
- Economic Vitality
This Approach is a unique preservation-based economic development tool that enables communities to enhance downtown and neighborhood business districts by leveraging local assets. It is a comprehensive, incremental strategy that addresses the variety of issues and problems that challenge traditional commercial districts.
As of 2023, 17 Utah Main Streets and business districts are designated as UMSP affiliate communities in Tier 2 and Tier 1 categories. Tier 1 Affiliate Programs are the 1st tier in the UMSP. These are our promising newly designated districts. Tier 2 Affiliate Programs are the 2nd tier in the Utah Main Street Program. These are vibrant Main Street districts with programs in various stages of development beyond Tier 1. Tier 3 are Accredited Main Street Programs through Main Street America.
Tier 2 Communities: Brigham City, Cedar City, Helper, Mt. Pleasant, Ogden, Price, Tooele City.
Tier 1 Communities: Castle Dale, Gunnison, Heber City, Magna, Midtown (SLC), Parowan, Payson, Richfield, Salina, and Vernal.
Main Street America™ has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for more than 35 years. Today it is a network of more than 1,600 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development.
Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
A Mark of Distinction
Participating programs, organizations, and communities are part of a national movement with a proven track record for celebrating community character, preserving local history, and generating impressive economic returns. Since 1980, over 2,000 communities have participated, bringing renewed energy and activity to America’s downtowns and commercial districts, securing $61 billion in new investment, creating more than 525,000 net new jobs, and rehabilitating 251,000 buildings.
A Time-Tested Strategy
The Main Street Approach includes broad-based community engagement, a holistic understanding of the factors that impact the quality of life, and a strategic focus on the core principles of downtown and neighborhood revitalization, including economic vitality, quality design, effective promotion, and sustainable organization.
The Utah Main Street Program helps communities revitalize their economy, appearance, and image of downtown commercial districts. They do this by building a strategy centered around a community’s unique heritage and attributes that make it a great place to live and visit. The program provides a framework and resources to support a community’s downtown revitalization efforts.
The Utah Main Street Program is about:
- Revitalization — giving new life to particular areas of a community
- A traditional center for community life
- Home to local business
- Encouraging small business growth and entrepreneurship
- Encouraging positive community development by in-fill and adaptable uses
- Preservation of culture and history
Businesses, residents, and governments benefit from the Main Street program, with increased revenues, goods, and services. Resident amenities also serve tourists. One of the greatest strengths of the Main Street program is its multi-disciplinary approach — its economic development, tourism, community development, heritage and culture, transportation and preservation, and more.
- Property owners
Growth of rental income; increase in property values; safer environment
- Business owners
Higher sales; safer work environment; access to business resources
- District workers
Access to a broader range of goods and services; more pleasant work environment; rise in wages
Access to a broader range of goods and services; more pleasant living environment
- Local government
Increased property tax revenues; stronger civic engagement
- State government
Increased sales and income tax revenues; reduced burden of state support
- Federal government
Increased income tax revenues; reduced burden of federal support
- Social service agencies
Stronger local employment base; better range of goods and services for residents
- Civic groups
Venue for holding events; partner in strengthening community
- Financial institutions
Safer investments; CRA compliance; more/larger commercial deposits
Reduced crime; greater neighborhood involvement in community policing
Living laboratory for civics, local history, architecture, small business development
- Arts organizations
Strengthened cultural environment; venue for holding events
The Utah Main Street Program initially ran in the 90s and then was piloted from 2019-2021 with Brigham City and Price. During the 2021 Legislative session, S.B 94 created the Utah Main Street Program within the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (now known as the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity).
The Governor's Office of Economic Development and the Utah Main Street Program Advisory Committee provided initial support for the program. Membership on the Advisory Committee included:
- A representative of the Office of Economic Opportunity
- A representative of the Utah Office of Tourism
- A representative of the Department of Cultural & Community Engagement
- A representative of the State Historic Preservation Office
- A representative of the Utah Department of Transportation
- A representative of the Housing and Community Development Division
- Three representatives from various entities that have an interest or expertise in assisting local Main Street programs (local association of governments, private sector, etc.)
In July of 2022, the Utah Main Street Program moved to the Department of Cultural and Community Engagement, under the State Historic Preservation Office.
Utah Main Street Program Advisory Council, 2021-2022
“Utah has deep roots in the entertainment industry, with thousands of productions filmed across the state of Utah since the 1930s. Whatever the story, it can be told in Utah’s desert lands, mountain grandeur, small towns, and urban cities. With over 84,000 square miles of diverse and cinematic landscapes, Utah’s historical buildings and landmarks are unique assets that attract filmmakers to our state for film production. Productions filmed in the state have both a creative and an economic impact by supporting small businesses creating new jobs and encouraging new visitors to see where their favorite films were shot.”
Utah Film Commission
“Brigham City has long been recognized for its wonderful Main Street. We are excited and honored that Brigham City has been chosen as a pilot community for the Utah Main Street Program. The Main Street Program has demonstrated its effectiveness throughout the United States. As a community-driven and holistic approach to downtown revitalization, and not simply a silver bullet approach, I believe that the Main Street Program will be of tremendous benefit for our beautiful town.”
Tyler M. Vincent
“Utah’s Main Street program brings together so many of the state’s resources like arts and culture, preservation, and important planning tools to help communities build destinations.”
Frequently Asked Questions
For More Information
Utah Main Street Program Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org