Middlesboro Main Street program receives 2020 National Main Street accreditation

Published 7:13 am Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Middlesboro Main Street has been designated as a 2020 Accredited Main Street America program by the National Main Street Center which recognizes communities across the country that are working to restore their historic downtowns, bringing life back to city centers that were often left behind by sprawling commercial development in the second half of the 20th-century. Kentucky Main Street is a program of the Kentucky Heritage Council, the State Historic Preservation Office, an agency in the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet. Kentucky is proud to have the oldest Main Street program in the nation.

In 2019 alone, Middlesboro Main Street helped to create an additional 30 jobs in the downtown area and a total of $296,500 in reinvestment.  There were five new businesses opened and a total of seven improvements to facades in the historic district.

Main Street America has 10 “Standards of Performance” that it requires to be met before accrediting a program, among them that it “has broad-based community support for the commercial district revitalization process, with strong support from both the public and private sectors,” and that it “possesses a historic preservation ethic.”

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Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for 41 years. Today it is a network of more than 1,600 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, Inc., a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Kentucky Main Street Coordinator, Kitty Dougoud, stated that “Whenever you see a Kentucky Main Street sign or logo associated with a community you can be assured that something special is happening there.”

“I am so proud of Middlesboro Main Street for receiving national accreditation. The accreditation puts a ‘stamp of approval’ on our work downtown,” stated Mallory Shoffner Quintero, Middlesboro Main Street President.  Main Street is Middlesboro’s shared neighborhood and its strength and resiliency are especially vital as we recover for the COVID-19 pandemic.”


In 2019, Middlesboro Main Street was instrumental in:

  1. Levitt Concert Series on the “Levitt Park” in downtown where performers from all over the United States came to perform to large crowds on Thursday nights.
  2. Moving forward with the remediation of the Fraternal Order of the Elks Building.
  3. Wing Fling and its successful growth
  4. Working  with local entrepreneurs to encourage and promote growth in the downtown area.

“We are proud to recognize this year’s 860 Nationally Accredited Main Street America programs that have dedicated themselves to strengthening their communities,” said Patrice Frey, President & CEO of the National Main Street Center. “These Accredited Main Street programs have proven to be powerful engines for revitalization by sparking impressive economic returns and preserving the character of their communities. During these challenging times, these Main Street programs will be key to bringing economic vitality back to commercial districts and improving quality of life during the recovery process.

“COVID-19 has impacted our local economy, making it harder to generate real results,” said Larry Gandey, executive director of Middlesboro Main Street. “Middlesboro Main Street is committed to supporting new and existing businesses, planning physical improvements, organizing events and promotions to raise the profile of the downtown district while engaging community members in downtown revitalization.”

Accredited status is Main Street America’s top tier of recognition and signifies a demonstrated commitment to comprehensive commercial district revitalization and a proven track record of successfully applying the Main Street Approach™.   To receive accreditation, a city must also report data to Kentucky Main Street and be certified annually. Kentucky Main Street Program designated Middlesboro a Kentucky Main Street community for 2020 earlier this year.

Middlesboro Main Street was founded in 2006 as Discover Downtown Middlesboro, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. The group works to enhance, promote, and preserve the vitality and livability of downtown Middlesboro, a national Main Street community.