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Using the Main Street America Four-Point Approach, Minnesota Main Streets by Rethos is a program to assist towns, small cities, and urban neighborhood centers maximize both their people and built assets to make their communities more vibrant, livable, and economically stable. 


The Main Street Approach is a tried-and-true asset-based economic development program with a focus on preserving the buildings and spaces that make a place unique. Paired with the historic preservation expertise and experience of Rethos, Main Street Minnesota communities have additional resources available to reimagine how a historic building or district can be of use today. 


Recognizing that a healthy Main Street is a visible sign of a healthy community, Main Street is about revitalizing districts for the people who are living and working in them now. By providing training, resources, and technical assistance, Minnesota Main Streets helps communities develop their own strategies to stimulate economic growth, build civic pride, and shine a light on what makes their spaces irreplaceable. 

It’s official!
The LOOKING UP DOWNTOWN grant application period is open!


We're excited to officially launch the application for the first round of the "Looking Up Downtown" Paul Bruhn Grant, open to projects located in Minnesota Main Streets districts*. 


Applications will be accepted through June 30, 2024 at 11:59 pm. An informational webinar will take place Thursday, May 16 from 10 am – 12 pm (meeting information below). Until then, the following guidelines can help vet your projects: 

1. To be eligible for the Looking Up Downtown grant, your building needs to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places either individually or contributing to a historic district or be in the process of achieving that designation. It must also be located in a Minnesota Main Streets district in communities with populations less than 50,000. Eligible Minnesota Main Streets districts are listed below. Please contact your local Main Street Director or for district boundaries.


  • We anticipate many upper floor projects will be housing-focused, but any interior work to activate upper floor vacant or underutilized spaces is applicable (ex: upper floor event space, new offices, etc.). 

  • Projects will need to be shovel ready. Now is a great time to assemble the necessary paperwork and get going with your prep work. We encourage working with architects with historic architecture experience as much as possible.

  • You will need photos, both current and historic. Contact your local historical society if you need help finding old photos.

  • Due to historic designation implications, this grant will only fund window repair, it will not fund window replacement.

Informational webinar:

Thursday, May 16th from 10 am – 12 pm

Join the meeting here

Meeting ID: 274 881 462 746

Passcode: MDh3U7

Dial-in by phone

+1 469-998-7232,,976453450# United States, Dallas

Find a local number

Phone conference ID: 976 453 450#

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Designated Main Street Community
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Network Main Street Community
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Designated and Artists on Main Street Community
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Artists on Main Street Community
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Downtown Assessment Community
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Minnesota Main Street Communities

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Lincoln Park Duluth




Red Wing




How Do We Become A Main Streets Minnesota Community?


Articles from the Rethos Blog and Magazines highlighting Main Street programs, volunteers, events, and businesses.

Minnesota Main Streets by Rethos, a Main Street America™ Coordinating Program, is financed in part with funds provided by the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society and the Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment.
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