House committee OKs extended participation in Main Street program

HARRISBURG, May 16 – The House Local Government Committee unanimously approved legislation authored by Rep. Robert Freeman that would allow communities to extend their participation in the state’s Main Street program from five years to 10 years.

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.

“What we have learned is that five years is often not enough for many Main Street programs to fully implement their renewal objectives for downtown commercial areas,” said Freeman, D-Northampton, who is Democratic chairman of the committee.

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.

The bill (H.B. 1243) heads to the full House for consideration.