Montana Main Street

Program Advancement


Becoming a Member Community

Before a community can be considered for membership in the statewide program, Main Street staff will need to be invited by local leaders and stakeholders within the community to provide a program overview presentation. Local interest should aim to include a wide range of participants with a vested interest in the downtown core and community as a whole. Before pursuing membership, a community should solidify its local collaborative effort and should be communicating with Montana Main Street about the organizational progress. The membership application cycle will be opened on an annual basis on October 1 and remain open until December 31. Submitted applications and supporting materials will be evaluated by a review committee. Acceptance into the Montana Main Street Program is competitive and based on community preparedness as well as resource availability at the state level; not every community that applies will be invited to join at the time of application. On average, only 1 to 2 communities are accepted into the program annually. MMS staff is available to assist interested communities throughout the application process, and can provide guidance to those communities not accepted into the program.

Membership Requirements

  • An established commitment to planning, through the adoption of—or commitment to adopt within first year of affiliate membership—an appropriate long-range planning document in support of the community’s vision and overarching goals (growth policy, downtown master plan, etc.);
  • Completed local program overview and assessment meeting with Montana Main Street staff;
  • Completed tourism and brand workshop hosted locally by Montana Office of Tourism;
  • A unified and collaborative local effort to include the City, key organizations and stakeholders, accompanied by secured letters of support;
  • Demonstrated organizational capacity and local contact designated to gather, record, and submit quarterly reinvestment statistics;
  • Established work plan setting goals and implementation strategies for first year of affiliate membership;
  • Demonstrated understanding of the Main Street Four Point Approach; and
  • Demonstrated success in identifying and obtaining funding resources to further community and downtown projects.

Advancement in the Program

The goal of the Montana Main Street Program is to enable and support local community efforts to engage in long-range planning and downtown revitalization. A new affiliate member community in the Montana Main Street Program should be working toward both organizational and planning benchmarks. A community interested in advancing in the tier system must complete a Tier Advancement Application. Communities may only apply to advance to the next tier in the program succession. While there is no set timeline for advancement, an affiliate community must consult with program staff and successfully demonstrate having reached the following advancement benchmarks before applying.

Tier Advancement Benchmarks

  • An adopted growth policy and downtown master plan in place; other beneficial planning documents are encouraged;
  • An organizational structure with at least one paid staff member to oversee the local program;
  • An established Board of Directors and Main Street committee(s);
  • A developed community work plan, updated annually, to include prioritization of projects, working project timelines, and local division of project responsibilities;
  • An established volunteer base and ability to demonstrate volunteer contribution to downtown efforts in quarterly reinvestment statistics;
  • Demonstrated and practiced application of the Main Street Four Point Approach;
  • Proven success in obtaining, administering and completing Montana Main Street grant application project(s);
  • Consistent and timely reporting of quarterly reinvestment statistics;
  • Local membership with the National Main Street Center.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIVISION | MONTANA DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
301 S PARK AVENUE | PO BOX 200523 | HELENA, MT 59620-0523 | P: (406) 841-2770 | F: (406) 841-2771 | TDD: (406) 841-2702