Rep. Freeman bill to extend participation in Main Street program sent to full House

Members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Local Government Committee unanimously approved legislation (H.B. 1450) sponsored by state Rep. Robert Freeman, D-Northampton, that would allow communities to extend their participation in the Main Street program an additional five years, for up to 10 years.


Currently, a community is limited to only five years in the program. The legislation now goes to the full House for consideration.


Freeman said the state Department of Community and Economic Development could grant a period of up to an additional five years for administrative costs associated with employing a Main Street manager, if it determines that it would be beneficial to the community in reaching its revitalization goals.


“The time period of only five years is often too short for Main Street programs to thrive and succeed in their objectives,” Freeman said. “Under my bill communities would be given up to an additional five years for a total of 10 years. My bill would provide Main Street communities with more time and, in turn, be able to fully implement a revitalization and enhancement strategy for downtown commercial areas.


“Too often a community’s Main Street initiative just gets started with implementing its revitalization plan when the funding ends, undermining the ability to realize the plan’s objectives,” Freeman said.

“My legislation would give the department the authority to determine whether added time by a community in the program would make all the difference in ensuring that the plan is fully implemented and the revitalization objectives are met.”


The Main Street Act was created to provide grants for commercial downtown revitalization efforts, including infrastructure improvements, marketing and promoting the established commercial downtown within the Main Street area and façade grants, all under the direction of a Main Street manager. Currently, grants for a maximum of five years may be made to support and implement the efforts.