Downtown Frederick Partnership is Frederick’s Main Street program. Main Street designation is awarded by Main Street Maryland (State of Maryland) and is recognized by The City of Frederick and Main Street America; each of which assess the Partnership’s work every year. The Partnership has successfully been re-designated each year since the initial designation in 2001.
The impact of implementing the Main Street Program in Downtown Frederick is significant. Since Frederick’s 2001 designation, the work of the local Main Street program resulted in:
- 967 private investment projects ($83 million in investment)
- 208 public improvement projects ($40 million in investment)
- 389 new businesses
- 1,567 jobs created
- 63,221 volunteer hours valued at $1.6 million
Together with the City of Frederick, the Partnership has been awarded more than $3.1 million in funding from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. Each grant dollar received has been invested in Downtown Frederick businesses, public amenities and streetscape improvements.
What is Main Street? The Main Street Program is a comprehensive, incremental, community driven approach to historic preservation based economic development. More than 1,600 small towns, mid-sized communities and urban commercial districts implement the Main Street Program to make positive change in downtowns across the nation.
The goal of implementing a Main Street Program is to revitalize and strengthen historic downtowns. This work is achieved by taking action in four key areas: Business Development (referred to nationally as Economic Vitality), Design, Promotion and Organization. The work of completed under each of these focus areas is further described below.
Business Development works to support existing businesses as well as to recruit new businesses. For the Partnership, this work includes the Competitive Edge (informative workshops held to increase business success), the Small Business Resiliency Series (a response to the pandemic that includes webinars, peer support, business advisors available at no cost to the merchant and a small business lending library), business retention visits, a new business welcome committee, Mission: Interior (a program which offers matching grant funds for interior capital improvements) and additional efforts to collect and share data. Find more about these programs here.
Design impacts the physical environment by encouraging attractive storefronts, revitalized facades, clean sidewalks and pedestrian-friendly amenities as well as by addressing key long-term planning issues. For the Partnership, this work includes implementing a Façade Improvement Grant Program, collaborating to achieve wayfinding improvements, advocating for the Downtown Hotel, coordinating placemaking projects (Pitchcraft, the Carroll Creek Art & Wayfinding Signage project and unchARTed to name a few), completing community clean ups (Bring a Broom Saturday) and launching the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Program to begin to address a policy goal of having more people living in Downtown Frederick. Most recently, this committee was involved in the process to develop the Pop Up Dining plan now in place and is continuing to gather input in order to think about future streetscape improvements.
Promotion is focused on promoting and marketing a community. The work the Partnership completes to promote Downtown Frederick is the best known of all of our efforts locally and includes popular events like First Saturday, Alive @ Five, Restaurant Week and Frosty Friday as well as the very popular Downtown Frederick Gift Card program. While the Partnership cannot offer our traditional programming under current pandemic guidelines, efforts continue to offer events online and events in person without the traditional programming as well as create new activities that are in compliance with current health guidance.
Organization secures the investors and volunteer support necessary to implement a Main Street Program. For the Partnership, the work of this committee helps the organization achieve our ambitious goals. Financial and volunteer support are essential to our success and the organization is extremely grateful to the many who contribute to the organization with both time and funding.
While listed separately, the work of under these four areas is coordinated both by our annual action planning process as well as the ongoing efforts of the Partnership Board and staff to achieve more in Downtown Frederick.