Wednesday, May 22, 2024


by Minden Press-Herald

Key data reveals Main Street program as cost-effective economic development for communities

BATON ROUGE, La. – Since its start in 1984, Louisiana Main Street has collected reinvestment statistics from its network of local organizations. With the close of the most recent reporting period on December 31, 2022, the program achieved an historic milestone seeing more than $1 billion in public and private investments through 2022.

“Historic downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts are the heart and soul of communities across Louisiana. They give the community its sense of place and character and provide the uniqueness that sets one community apart from another. In addition, historic downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts are great locations for small businesses and entrepreneurs,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser.

Of the $1 billion invested in Louisiana Main Streets, $520 million was private investments with the remaining $527 million in public investments. Other key statistics during that time include:

  • Creation of 10,573 net new jobs
  • 2,282 net new businesses
  • More than $461 million in new construction or rehabilitation of buildings
  • More than 2 million volunteer hours

For the last 30 years, private sector investment has generated an average of 119 direct jobs and 98 indirect jobs each year. These jobs have meant an average of $7 million in income from direct jobs and $2.4 million from indirect jobs each year. Additionally, Louisiana Main Street continues to be cost-effective economic development, costing $1,632 per net new job or $5,802 per net new business.

The Louisiana Main Street program operates under the umbrella of the National Main Street Center,  a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Since 1984, Louisiana’s Main Street program has helped more than 40 communities with design, planning, staff training, and capacity building. The program also provides revitalization technical assistance in the areas of economic development, streetscape design, promotion, and organization.

Main Street was established on the principle that sustainable transformation of downtowns and commercial districts cannot happen overnight, with one big fix, or through the effort of a single individual. The 36 current Main Street communities across Louisiana are demonstrating the power of the small, the incremental, and the collaborative. Through smart, strategic, and scaled improvements, Louisiana Main Street communities are creating vibrant and resilient local economies that celebrate local flavor and homegrown talent. Both the numbers and the stories are clear—Main Street is a powerful program that contributes to the economic, social, and cultural health of Louisiana, creating benefits shared with residents in the quaintest of small towns to the liveliest of big cities.

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