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Indiana Main Street

In 2019, the Office of Community and Rural Affairs is evaluating the scope and mandate of its Main Street Program. During this period, OCRA is suspending accepting applications for new Main Street organizations until the evaluation is finalized.


Since 1985, the Indiana Main Street Program (IMS) has been helping communities revitalize the economy, appearance, and image of their downtown commercial districts using the National Main Street Center’s successful Main Street Approach. Main Street is a comprehensive, incremental approach to revitalization built around a community’s unique heritage and attributes. Using local resources and initiative, the state program helps communities develop and provides support for the implementation of their own strategies to stimulate long-term economic growth and pride in the heart of the communities’ downtown or commercial core.  

In 2005, the IMS Program transitioned to the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, where it is currently managed. IMS provides access to information, help getting focused, and community support and guidance to individuals and organizations interested in downtown revitalization. It also serves as a general clearinghouse for the latest tools and techniques in downtown development. General information, project development assistance information, and other resource materials are also available. The state program is a partner, but true revitalization success is built squarely on local commitment, initiative and follow-through.

The Indiana Main Street program support of its designated local IMS programs has resulted in significant investment and economic growth from the bottom-up in Main Street districts. Since 1985, Indiana Main Street communities have achieved:

4,740 NET new & expanded businesses 

 29,632 NET full and part time lobs

 $3.5 billion in private reinvestment

 $2.0 billion in public reinvestment

 9,367 building rehabilitation projects

 9142 new housing units

 2,485 public improvement projects

Is your community looking to form a Main Street organization or wanting to learn more about the program? A great place to start is by downloading a copy of our Main Street Program Guide & Handbook. 

Small Business Saturday - find a small business in your downtown using this map! 

Saturday, November 28, 2020, is Small Business Saturday. This day is all about celebrating downtown businesses and choosing to shop small instead of going to a big box retail store. When you support shopping small, you support your neighbor, your family, your friend, and more! In fact, according to American Express, for every dollar spent at a small business in the U.S., approximately 67 cents stays in the local community. So when you Shop Small on Small Business Saturday, and all year long, you can help create a big impact.

In partnership with the Small Business Administration (SBA), OCRA is planning to celebrate your downtown businesses to help promote and encourage people to shop in person at one of your downtown retailers, restaurants, and more. Check out the map below of small businesses across the State!

For further Shop Small resources, check out:

Bi-Monthly Regional Calls

The Office of Community and Rural Affairs has decided to cancel the bi-weekly Indiana Main Street call and replace them with bi-monthly regional calls. Every other month, each region will convene on a conference call to give updates on local activities and to network with other Main Streets in your area. Depending on your region, calls will begin in either September or October.

All calls are scheduled from 10 to 11 a.m ET on the days listed below:

  • Northwest: September 4;
  • Northeast: September 11;
  • East Central: October 2;
  • Southeast: October 9;
  • West Central: October 16;
  • Southwest: October 23.

If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or specific topics you would like to discuss prior to the calls, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Jackie Swihart.

2019 Indiana Main Street - Return on Investment 

Also, use this guide to help promote what your Main Street organization is doing in the community along with the IMS infographic above.


Franklin, Bad Dad Brewing and The Ladders Trail clinch the title of “Best of Indiana” 2019

On November 4, Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Tourism Development (IOTD) announced today the winners for the 2019 Best of Indiana people's choice campaign.

The winners are:

  • Best Brewery: Bad Dad Brewing Co. – Fairmount, Grant County
  • Best Hiking Trail: The Ladders Trail (Trail 3) at Turkey Run State Park – Parke County
  • Best Main Street: Franklin – Johnson County

Best of Indiana – Main Streets

IOTD enlisted the help of the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA), which oversees Indiana’s Main Street program, to select a list of towns and cities offering the ideal Main Street destinations. All of the top 10 are part of OCRA’s Main Street program. Voters selected Franklin in Johnson County as having the best Main Street in Indiana. Franklin has made significant changes to its downtown over the past few years. Officials said this has brought numerous new businesses to the downtown area, including restaurants and shops. Franklin is considered a walkable downtown that resulted in more activities and festivals on the square. Victorian mansions line King and Jefferson streets, giving it that quaint hometown feel.

Located along the Ohio River, Madison in Jefferson County was voted number two in the main street voting. Madison is known for its historic buildings, rich history, unique businesses and shops, and its beautiful scenery, parks, and recreational activities. Madison’s Main Street program was one of the first nationally accredited main street programs in the country.  

Downtown Angola tops the list at number three. The main feature of its downtown is the New England style public square with the Soldiers’ Monument at its center. Angola has also invested heavily in quality of place initiatives, like their Art Alley, Brohaw theater renovation and large events, like Cruise to the Monument car show. Business are also flocking to the downtown with 11 joining last year, to bring the total to 141.

“The top two main streets are nationally accredited Main Street communities, and Franklin is a great example of multiple groups working together for the betterment of the community,” said Misty Weisensteiner, director of Indiana Tourism. “If you haven’t visited any of these local spots that made the list, I encourage everyone to explore a new one.”

Click here to view the full press release. 


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