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Marion, Iowa © Tasha Sams

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Two community members in Emporia Kansas pose with a sign saying "I'm a Main Streeter"

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Dionne Baux and MSA partner working in Bronzeville, Chicago.

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Kendall Whittier — Tulsa, Oklahoma © Kendall Whittier Main Street

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Three Main Street America Staff members standing in front of a mural in Marion, Iowa.

Marion, Iowa © Tasha Sams

About

We work in collaboration with thousands of local partners and grassroots leaders across the nation who share our commitment to advancing shared prosperity, creating resilient economies, and improving quality of life.

Overview Who We Are How We Work Partner Collaborations Our Supporters Our Team Job Opportunities Contact Us
Two community members in Emporia Kansas pose with a sign saying "I'm a Main Streeter"

Emporia, Kansas © Emporia Main Street

Our Network

Made up of small towns, mid-sized communities, and urban commercial districts, the thousands of organizations, individuals, volunteers, and local leaders that make up Main Street America™ represent the broad diversity that makes this country so unique.

Overview Coordinating Programs Main Street Communities Collective Impact Awards & Recognition Community Evaluation Framework Join the Movement
Dionne Baux and MSA partner working in Bronzeville, Chicago.

Chicago, Illinois © Main Street America

Resources

Looking for strategies and tools to support you in your work? Delve into the Main Street Resource Center and explore a wide range of resources including our extensive Knowledge Hub, professional development opportunities, field service offerings, advocacy support, and more!

Overview Knowledge Hub Field Services Government Relations Main Street Now Conference Main Street America Institute Small Business Support Allied Member Services The Point Members Area
People riding e-scooters in Waterloo, Iowa

Waterloo, Iowa © Main Street Waterloo

The Latest

Your one-stop-shop for all the latest stories, news, events, and opportunities – including grants and funding programs – across Main Street.

Overview News & Stories Events & Opportunities Subscribe
Woman and girl at a festival booth in Kendall Whittier, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Kendall Whittier — Tulsa, Oklahoma © Kendall Whittier Main Street

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Join us in our work to advance shared prosperity, create strong economies, and improve quality of life in downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts.

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October 30, 2020 | Announcing the 2020 Mary Means Leadership Award Recipient |

Sharon Jablonski, Director of Morganton Main Street. Credit: Ethan Smith.(left) and Michael Berley (center and right)

Sharon Jablonski, the Director of Morganton Main Street in Morganton, North Carolina, is the inaugural recipient of the Mary Means Leadership Award. Selected by a national jury, Sharon is being recognized for her innovative approach to downtown revitalization, which transformed Morganton into a thriving entertainment district, with a lively arts scene and strong local economy.

“A Main Street program’s success depends on the commitment and vision of local Main Street directors,” said the National Main Street Center’s President and CEO Patrice Frey. “The transformation Sharon has led in Morganton has been remarkable, and her longstanding commitment to fostering community engagement, developing partnerships, and spearheading innovative development downtown is a model for strong Main Street leadership.”

The National Main Street Center introduced the Mary Means Leadership Award this year, named in recognition of the founder of the National Main Street program. Nominees were judged on the extent to which they: build local capacity; lead through strategy; exhibit innovation and ingenuity; bring together diverse stakeholders through shared vision; demonstrate commitment to continuous learning; and advance a preservation ethic in their work.

Director of the North Carolina Main Street Program & Rural Planning Center, Liz Parham, nominated Sharon for the award. Hear from Liz about why she nominated Sharon below:


In her 30-year tenure as Director of Morganton Main Street, Sharon’s forward-thinking approach has turned downtown into a thriving entertainment district, featuring a seven-screen multiplex theater built on a parking lot, the redevelopment of historic buildings into restaurants and breweries, and a new 85-room hotel built in a formerly vacant lot. The downtown Morganton district has also been developed to serve as an arts incubator, featuring a community kitchen to support restaurants and breweries, a community kiln to support the potters, a visual arts gallery and a performing arts venue, and public art. This is all as a direct result of Sharon's vision and leadership to make downtown a creative space for visitors.

Sharon has brought new residents to downtown by working with developers to build new residential units that have resulted in 260 new units with nearly 400 individuals now calling downtown home. Sharon has made historic preservation a high priority in her revitalization efforts, working closely with the State Historic Preservation Office to promote and encourage the use of historic tax credits. She has written and received more than $1 million in state and federal grants that she has used to renovate key properties and generate a revolving loan program for business development.

“Sharon Jablonski is a thought leader who is never satisfied with the status quo,” said Liz Parham, Director of the North Carolina Main Street Program & Rural Planning Center, who nominated Sharon for the award. “She constantly and consistently reaches for the next transformational strategy and the next project that will take Morganton and the Main Street program to the next level. It is directly because of her leadership that we consider Morganton to be one of the best examples of the Main Street program in North Carolina.”