The Downtown Franklin Association, a subsidiary of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County, has been designated as an accredited Main Street America™ program for meeting rigorous performance standards set by the National Main Street Center. Each year, the National Main Street Center and its Coordinating Program partners announce the list of accredited Main Street America programs in recognition of their exemplary commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization through the Main Street Approach®.
“Once again, we are thrilled to recognize this year’s nationally accredited Main Street America communities for their outstanding work,” says Patrice Frey, President & CEO of the National Main Street Center. “We are experiencing an exciting era for America’s cities and towns, with a growing recognition of the importance of strong local enterprise, distinctive character, engaged residents, and sense of place. These are things that Main Street America programs have been working to protect and advance for years, strengthening the economic, social, and cultural fabric of communities across the country.”
The organization’s performance is annually evaluated by the Tennessee Main Street Program, a division of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, which works in partnership with the National Main Street Center to identify the local programs that meet ten performance standards. Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, securing an operating budget, tracking programmatic progress and actively preserving historic buildings.
Historic Downtown Franklin boasts an award-winning Main Street, brick sidewalks, a stunning collection of Victorian buildings and a host of “Best of” accolades, including “Best Small Town in Tennessee,” “America’s Most Romantic Main Street” and “One of America’s Greatest Antique Destinations,” among others. In May 2012, Franklin was ranked #4 on Livability.com‘s Best Places to Visit for Historic Preservation.
Recently, Travel + Leisure Magazine named Franklin 8th best town in the nation. In 2014, Garden & Gun magazine named Franklin the “Best Southern Town” following an online readers’ poll.
“We strive to come up with creative ways to encourage both visitors as well as locals to eat, shop and play in Historic Downtown Franklin,” DFA Director Kristy Williams said. “Our board and committee members have focused recently on partnering with the City of Franklin to meet with building owners, holiday lighting, waste removal, and public/private art initiatives. Art Scene is celebrating its fifth year anniversary with special events held each month in 2016. DFA University was introduced in January to provide members additional learning opportunities. The DFA promotes all that ‘America’s Favorite Main Street’ has to offer, and building relationships to strengthen our community.”
The Downtown Franklin Association, established in 1984, is a non-profit committed to historic preservation and community vibrancy. Since its founding, the DFA has helped spearhead the revitalization of Franklin’s historic downtown core. The organization and its members–made up of local business owners, merchants and building owners–have done it by following the four-point program of the National Main Street Center of the National Trust for Historic Preservation: Organization, Design, Promotion and Economic Vitality.
Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for more than 35 years. Today, it is a network of more than 1,000 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Since 1980, communities participating in the program have leveraged more than $65.6 billion in new public and private investment, generated 556,960 net new jobs and 126,476 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 260,000 buildings. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
To learn more about the Franklin’s Main Street Program, please visit www.DowntownFranklinTN.com.