Press Release | Washington, DC | March 26, 2015

Atlanta Hosts Premier Downtown Revitalization Conference

From March 30-April 2, National Main Streets Conference attendees will study economic development successes, opportunities in Atlanta and statewide

The 30th National Main Streets Conference is coming to Atlanta Monday through Wednesday, attracting approximately 1,400 city planners, community revitalization professionals, volunteers and elected officials. The conference brings together a diverse national network of groups dedicated to generating economic vitality, fostering a unique sense of place and engaging key stakeholders in planning the future of their historic downtowns. Since 1980, the National Main Street Center has guided this work in more than 2,000 communities nationwide to produce $61.7 billion in investment, stimulate more than 285,000 building rehabilitation projects and create nearly 530,000 jobs.

The 2015 National Main Streets Conference is co-hosted by Georgia Main Street through the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

Through 15 mobile workshops, more than 85 education sessions, and peer networking opportunities, the conference provides a forum for best practices on igniting and sustaining the redevelopment of America’s historic downtowns and urban districts. Using Georgia as a living laboratory, the conference will examine how to strengthen downtowns of all sizes by supporting creative economies, attracting tech entrepreneurs, and developing small business.

“The Main Streets Conference offers attendees a first-hand look at the best of Georgia while inviting Georgians to engage with what is working nationwide”, says Patrice Frey, president and CEO of the National Main Street Center. “Tours of Ansley Park and Cabbagetown, for example, will enable attendees to experience Georgia-based revitalization solutions. Sessions on partnering with universities to drive redevelopment in Macon and Newnan and using maker/co-working space to energize downtown Augusta highlight home-grown successes that will interest attendees and may surprise locals, too.”

“The Georgia Department of Community Affairs and Georgia Main Street Program are excited about the opportunity to co-host this national event in our capital city,” says Billy Peppers, Director, Office of Downtown Development & Georgia Main Streets. “Georgia was one of the first states in the nation to start a Main Street network and over 35 years it has been a successful formula for cities of all sizes to grow, encourage small business development, improve downtown design and instill a local historic preservation ethic. The 103 cities in the Georgia Main Street network assist in the creation of an average of 3,000 net new jobs for the state annually.”

Other conference highlights include:

  • Keynote address by Carol Colleta, vice president with the Knight Foundation, on how to maintain economic competitiveness though technology and civic innovation
  • The announcement of the prestigious 2015 Great American Main Street Award winners
  • Mobile workshops, including visits to Hapeville, Monroe and Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn district
  • Sessions on topics including putting crowdfunding to work and attracting and retaining millennials
  • Premiere of the documentary film, Urban Century which takes a look at how historic downtowns can help us cope with economic recession, climate change, and America’s obesity epidemic
  • New research on best practices for incentivizing historic preservation
  • A four-part introduction to the Main Street Approach® which will describe the building blocks of a successful downtown revitalization strategy.
  • On-site registration begins on Sunday, March 29, at the Omni at CNN Center from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The conference is open to members of the media, but they must check in at the registration desk to receive their credentials. The public may purchase tickets for tours pending availability.

    For conference updates, follow @MainStreetsConf on Twitter. More information on the program is online at: http://www.mainstreet.org/

    The National Main Street Center

    Established in 1980 as a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Main Street Center works with a nationwide network of communities to encourage preservation-based economic revitalization that utilizes the Main Street Four-Point Approach.® The Center participated in the renewal of more than 2,000 older commercial districts during its 30-year history. Now a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Main Street Center provides information, offers technical assistance, holds conferences and workshops, and conducts research and advocacy on critical revitalization issues.

    Media Contacts:

    Erica Stewart, National Trust for Historic Preservation, estewart@savingplaces.org, 202-207-6796

    Jana Wiggins, Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Jana.Wiggins@dca.ga.gov, 404-679-0661

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    The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places.
    SavingPlaces.org | @savingplaces

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