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National Trust Main Street Center® to Hold Conference

For Immediate Release


Contact:               National Trust for Historic Preservation Public Affairs, 202-588-6141



National Trust Main Street Center® to Hold Annual Main Streets Conference in Des Moines, May 22-25

To Focus on Growing America’s Downtowns Through Smart Growth, Innovative Businesses, Job Creation


Washington, D.C. (May 20, 2011) — The 2011 National Main Streets Conference will convene from May 22-25 in Des Moines at the Polk County Convention Complex. Attracting more than a thousand architects, city planners, revitalization practitioners, elected officials and historic preservationists, the annual conference is considered the premier event for professionals seeking breakthrough tools and best practices in preservation-based commercial district revitalization. Now in its 26th year, the 2011 conference will focus on the various means of growing downtowns, from weaving sustainability practices into Main Streets, to recruiting and strengthening local businesses.


As America’s downtowns cope with budget cuts and financial hurdles, this year’s sessions will equip attendees with strategies and skills that capitalize on the economic impact of cultural tourism, historic preservation and local entrepreneurship. Over 50 educational sessions, workshops and field trips will focus on successful strategies for revitalizing downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts. How-to topics include: surviving natural disaster, understanding consumer spending, leveraging local cuisine to increase tourism, spurring downtown start-ups and using social media to achieve advocacy goals. The full conference program is available at Those not able to attend can access extensive online content at that URL as well.


The 2011 conference will also highlight the billions of dollars in reinvestment, millions of volunteer hours, hundreds of thousands of new jobs and new businesses and thousands of revitalized communities that are realized using the National Trust Main Street Center’s Main Street Four-Point Approach® methodology. The Main Street communities in Iowa, for example, recently surpassed the $1 billion mark in attracting private investment, helping to rehab 8,000 historic buildings and create 10,000 jobs since the inception of the program 25 years ago.  

Conference highlights include: 

        A keynote address by Edward T. McMahon of the Urban Land Institute in which he evaluates the death of the suburban strip mall and forecasts a bright future for Main Street;

        The annual “State of Main Street” report, with its summary of economic trends that reveal how Main Streets nationwide are surviving and thriving;

        The announcement of the prestigious 2011 Great American Main Street Award winners;

        The presentation of the Main Street Leadership Award to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, represented by Under Secretary for Rural Development, Dallas Tonsager;

        Conversaciones, a forum for Hispanics and Latinos to discuss preserving their heritage and involving Hispanic and Latino business owners in Main Street revitalization; and

        Four days of educational and networking opportunities with colleagues who are experiencing similar successes and challenges in their communities.


“Main Streets are the heart and soul of America and the Main Street program has had unparalleled success in guiding their revitalization while saving places that are important to local communities,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the conference’s closing keynote speaker. “This year’s conference will engage policymakers, practitioners and planners in a close look at how Main Streets are also powerful centers for innovation and economic growth, including creative business models, cutting-edge sustainability practices and unique public-private partnerships.”


Tours and sessions open to the public (tickets required) include:

        A free, four-part Main Street 101 training on the Main Street Four-Point Approach®; a can’t miss opportunity for anyone interested in incorporating this proven strategy into their hometown revitalization efforts. (no ticket necessary);

        Downtown Des Moines Architectural Overview, a walking tour of the southern and western sections of the downtown business district. See how the city maintains a balanced mix of historic and contemporary architecture. Highlights include buildings designed by world-renowned architects Mies van der Rohe and Daniel Burnham;

        Mansions of Des Moines, a walking tour of four stunning historic properties in the heart of Des Moines: Hoyt Sherman Place, Salisbury House, Terrace Hill and Butler Mansion;

        Tour d’Ingersoll: Building a Bikeable Des Moines, a guided bike tour that will explain the challenges and successes of revitalizing Ingersoll Avenue, including the retail area. This tour will involve two hours of riding, with a break for lunch.


The 2011 National Trust Main Streets Conference is co-hosted by Main Street Iowa, a program of the Iowa Department of Economic Development.


PUBLIC: To register, or for more information about the 2011 National Main Streets Conference, please visit, or call 202-588-6219. Tickets for field tours will be sold at the conference Registration Desk on the ground floor of the Polk County Convention Complex beginning Saturday, May 21st at 2 pm.


PRESS: Registration for the media is free.  To register, please contact the National Trust Office of Public Affairs, 202-588-6141.


Established in 1980, the National Trust Main Street Center helps communities of all sizes revitalize their traditional historic commercial districts. The Main Street Center leads the preservation-based community revitalization movement and has proven that historic preservation and community-driven economic development effects lasting change. Currently active in more than 1,200 downtowns and neighborhood business districts, Main Street programs have generated more than $44.9 billion in new investment since 1980. Participating communities have created 370,514 net new jobs, 82,909 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 199,519 buildings, leveraging an average of $25 in new investment for every dollar spent on Main Street initiatives. For more information about the Main Street program and its widespread successes over the years, visit 


The National Trust for Historic Preservation ( is a non-profit membership organization bringing people together to protect, enhance and enjoy the places that matter to them. By saving the places where great moments from history – and the important moments of everyday life – took place, the National Trust for Historic Preservation helps revitalize neighborhoods and communities, spark economic development and promote environmental sustainability. With headquarters in Washington, DC, eight regional and field offices, 29 historic sites, and partner organizations in 50 states, territories, and the District of Columbia, the National Trust for Historic Preservation provides leadership, education, advocacy and resources to a national network of people, organizations and local communities committed to saving places, connecting us to our history and collectively shaping the future of America’s stories.

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