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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. 

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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?

Looking Up Downtown: Paul Bruhn Grant Information
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We're excited to officially launch the application for the first round of the "Looking Up Downtown" Paul Bruhn Grant soon! As soon as we finalize forms with the National Park Service, which oversees this grant process, we'll confirm informational webinar dates and application deadlines.


In the meantime, here are a few things to know:

  1. In order to be eligible for the Looking Up Downtown grant, your building needs to be listed on the National Register either individually or in a district, and located in a Minnesota Main Street community.

  2. Twelve projects will be able awarded up to $50,000 of work on the interior upper floors of buildings located in Main Street Districts. There will be two rounds of applications, with $300,000 and six projects receiving grants during each period.

  3. Applications will need to be shovel ready--if you've got prep work that needs to happen, it's a good idea to get moving on that! We encourage working with historic architects as much as possible.

  4. Local Main Street program directors must be part of the application process with all individual applicants.

  5. We will ask for photos, both current and historic. Contact your local historical society if you need help finding old photos!

  6. This grant will only fund window repair, it will not fund window replacement.

  7. We anticipate many upper floor projects will be housing-focused, but any work to create new or enhanced useful space is applicable (ex: upper floor event space, new offices, etc.).

  8. We will host at least one informational webinar during each application period. Contact your local Main Street Director to stay informed on these dates.


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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