Beltsville, MD: USDA, National Agricultural Library,
Rural Information Center
Last Modified May 2019.
Original edition: 2005 by Rural Information Center.
- Community Planning Resources
- Downtown Revitalization
- Business Improvement Districts
- Case Studies, Best Practices, Model Programs
- Funding Sources
Many rural communities are engaged in revitalization efforts to renew downtown areas and restore them to their former prominence as a center of community activity. This guide links to full-text handbooks, planning tools, case studies, funding resources, organizations, revitalization strategies, and more to assist a community considering a downtown revitalization project. This guide was originally prepared by Patricia LaCaille John, June 2005. This resource guide was updated and last modified August, 2015. Rural Information Center Publication Series; no. 71 2005. Beltsville, MD.
The use of trade, firm, or corporation names in this publication (or page) is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by the United States Department of Agriculture or the Agricultural Research Service of any product or service to the exclusion of others that maybe suitable.
- Citizens' Institute on Rural Design. Web resource that is a National Endowment for the Arts leadership initiative in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Project for Public Spaces, Inc., along with the Orton Family Foundation and the CommunityMatters® Partnership. https://www.rural-design.org/
- Creating Resilient and Vibrant Downtowns. Downtown development resource that includes success stories. University of Wisconsin-Extension and Partners. 2016. https://fyi.uwex.edu/resilientdowntowns/
- Downtown and Business District Market Analysis: Using Market Data and Geographic Information Systems to Identify Economic Opportunities in Small Cities. Madison: University of Wisconsin-Extension, Center for Community Economic Development, 2004. https://fyi.uwex.edu/downtown-market-analysis/
- The Role of Local Industries in Downtown Economic Revitalization. Community Preparedness & Resiliency, Newsletter. February, 2014. Madison, WI: Center for Community & Economic Development, University of Wisconsin Extension. https://web.archive.org/web/20150908030402/https://blogs.ces.uwex.edu/cced/files/2014/05/downtown-and-industry-research-announcement-FINAL021014-22.pdf [PDF File 147.78KB]
- 10 Reasons Why Maine's Homegrown Economy Matters and 50 Proven Ways to Revive It. Stacy Mitchell. Belfast, ME: Maine Businesses for Social Responsibility, 2004. 56 p. https://ilsr.org/10-reasons-why-maines-homegrown-economy-matters-and-50-proven-ways-revive-it/
- City Beautiful: Establishing Community Redevelopment Areas in Florida. Melva Macfie, Karen Zagrodny. Gainesville: Conservation Clinic, College of Law, University of Florida, 1999. 24 p. https://www.law.ufl.edu/_pdf/academics/centers-clinics/clinics/conservation/resources/city_beautiful.pdf [PDF File 212.63KB]
- "Community development in rural America: the power to exchange capital resources in Norton County, Kansas.. Monier, Janis Pabst. Dissertation, August 2011. Kansas State University Library. URL for this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2097/9970
- Continuing Education Needs in the Last Green Valley: A Natural Resource, Land Use, & Community Design Needs Assessment. Susan P. Westa, C. Benjamin Tyson, Stephen H. Broderick, Paula Stahl. Journal of Extension. Vol. 45 No. 5, Article # 5EFA9, October 2007. https://www.joe.org/joe/2007october/a9.php
- "Downtown Revitalization: Cities Search for Solutions." EconSouth, No. 3 (1999): 5 p. https://www.frbatlanta.org/regional-economy/econsouth/econsouth-vol_1_no_3_cover_story.aspx
- A Local Official's Guide to Developing Better Community Post Offices. Paul Bruhn, Emily Wadhams, Karen Horn. Burlington, VT: The Preservation Trust of Vermont, 2001. 38 p. https://ptvermont.org/a-local-officials-guide-to-developing-better-community-post-offices/
- "Organizing for Central Business District Revitalization." Gregory A. Davis. Journal of Extension. 37, No. 2 (1999): 4 p. https://www.joe.org/joe/1999april/iw2.php
- Rehabilitating Historic Storefronts. H. Ward Jandl. Preservation Briefs 11. Washington, DC: Technical Preservation Services, National Park Service, 1982. https://www.nps.gov/tps/how-to-preserve/briefs/11-storefronts.htm
- Turning Around Downtown: Twelve Steps to Revitalization. Christopher B. Leinberger. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 2005. 23 p. https://www.brookings.edu/research/turning-around-downtown-twelve-steps-to-revitalization/
- Welcome Back Downtown: A Guide to Revitalizing Pennsylvania's Small Downtowns. Martin Shields, Tracey Farrigan. Harriburg: The Center for Rural Pennsylvania, n.d. 28 p. http://www.rural.palegislature.us/downtown.pdf [PDF File 167.43KB]
- Business Improvement Districts and Innovative Service Delivery. Jerry Mitchell. Arlington, VA: PricewaterhouseCoopers Endowment for the Business of Government, 1999. 32 p. http://www.businessofgovernment.org/sites/default/files/Mitchell.pdf [PDF File 151.87KB]
- Central Business District - Downtown Development Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington (M.R.S.C.). Updated 04/2012. http://mrsc.org/Home/Explore-Topics/Economic-Development/Special-Topics/Central-Business-District-Downtown-Development.aspx
- Promoting Retail to Revitalize Downtowns: An Examination of the Business Improvement District idea. Devika Gopal. Boston: Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2003. 153 p.
- Brownfields Success Stories. Washington, DC: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,Updated March 2012. https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-grantee-success-stories
- Downtown Rebound. Rebecca R. Sohmer, Robert E. Lang. Washington, DC: Fannie Mae Foundation, 2001. 10 p. https://www.brookings.edu/research/downtown-rebound/
- Downtown Revitalization: Pipestone. Washington, DC: National Park Service. 3 p. https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/pipestone/revitalization.htm
- Extension-Led Economic Development Model - A Recipe for Success. Journal of Extension, Vol. 51, No. 2, Article # 2FEA5, April 2013. https://www.joe.org/joe/2013april/a5.php
- Vibrant Rural Communities: Case Studies. NADO Research Foundation, Brett Schwartz. Posted December 10, 2012. https://www.nado.org/vibrant-rural-communities-case-study-series/
This resources provide a general look at funding sources for economic development efforts. Consult grant writing resources, https://www.nal.usda.gov/ric/funding-resources and A Guide to Funding Resources https://www.nal.usda.gov/ric/guide-to-funding-resources for assistance in preparing successful proposals and in obtaining funding applications and information for obtaining a DUNS number that is required of all organizations/entities applying for a federal grant or cooperative agreement.
Federal Funding Databases
Assistance Listings, formerly Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA). Assistance Listings is an Internet database containing information about all federal domestic programs including federal grants, loans, insurance, and training programs; information is available on eligibility, application procedures, selection criteria, and deadlines. https://beta.sam.gov/.
The following federal programs and private funding sources represent a sample of the resources available. For additional sources consult A guide to Funding Resources: https://www.nal.usda.gov/ric/guide-to-funding-resources This online guide contains links to numerous funding sources including federal, state, and private funding databases, state foundation guides, and grant writing resources and information.
Appalachian Regional Commission
- Appalachian Regional Commission Programs, https://www.arc.gov/program_areas/index.asp, These programs are directed at specific counties designated as being in the Appalachian area.
U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Forest Service - Cooperative Forestry, https://www.fs.fed.us/spf/coop/
- Rural Development
- Rural Development - Rural Business Programs include grant programs to public bodies, private nonprofit corporations, and Federally-recognized Indian Tribal groups to finance and facilitate development of small and emerging private business enterprises located in areas outside the boundary of a city or unincorporated areas. https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/programs-services-businesses
- Rural Development - Community Facilities Loan and Grant Programs (10.766) provide funding to construct, enlarge, extend, or otherwise improve community facilities providing essential services to rural residents.
- Rural Development Utility Programs - The RUS works with rural cooperatives, nonprofit associations, public bodies, and for-profit utilities to help provide modern utilities such as, electricity, telecommunications, as well as, water and waste disposal services to rural areas.https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/programs-services-utilities
- State Rural Development Offices, https://www.rd.usda.gov/contact-us/state-offices
U.S. Department of Commerce
- Economic Development Administration, https://www.eda.gov/, provides assistance to rural communities through a variety of programs including the Public Works and Economic Development Facilities Program.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Indian Community Development Block Grant Program (14.862)offers block grants to Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages to improve their communities. https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/public_indian_housing/ih/grants/icdbg
- State Community Development Block Grant Program provides eligible communities with annual direct grants that they can use for community projects. https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/comm_planning/communitydevelopment/programs/stateadmin
- Local Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Offices, https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/field_policy_mgt/localoffices
U.S. Department of the Interior
- Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development (IEED) , https://www.bia.gov/as-ia/ieed
- Working with Communities. The National Park Service provides many technical and funding assistance programs to State Historic Preservation Offices and communities for local projects. https://www.nps.gov/getinvolved/communities.htm
- Federal, State, and Tribal Historic Preservation Programs. https://www.achp.gov/preserve-america
U.S. Department of Transportation
- Transportation Enhancement Activities: program includes bicycle transportation, pedestrian walkways and other transportation enhancements. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/transportation_enhancements/
- SAFETEA-LU Formula Grants: Includes Transportation for Elderly Persons, Job Access and Rural Transit Assistance Programs. https://www.transit.dot.gov/grants/13093.html
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Brownfields and Land Revitalization "Brownfields are real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties protects the environment, reduces blight, and takes development pressures off greenspaces and working lands." https://www.epa.gov/brownfields
- Brownfields Federal Programs Guide 2015 Edition. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/2017-brownfields-federal-programs-guide
Additional Funding Resources
- First Nations Development Institute. Fredericksburg, VA. https://www.firstnations.org/
- Local Initiatives Support Corporation. New York, NY. http://www.lisc.org/
- National Trust's National Main Street Center. Washington, DC. https://savingplaces.org/stories/partners-in-preservation-main-streets#.W0ThjdJKi70
- Main Street America: https://www.mainstreet.org/home
- Rural Community Assistance Corporation. West Sacramento, CA.: firstname.lastname@example.org, https://www.rcac.org/
- Appalachia Magazine
Appalachian Regional Commission 1666 Connecticut Ave., NW Washington, DC 20235 Phone: 202-884-7700 Web: https://www.arc.gov/magazine/
- Downtown Digest
Downtown Research & Development Center 712 Main Street, Suite 187B Boonton, NJ 07005 Phone: 800-232-4317 Web: https://ddc.downtowndevelopment.com/downtown-digest/
- Journal of Housing & Community Development
National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials 630 Eye St., NW Washington, DC 20001 Phone:877-866-2476 Web: http://www.nahro.org/housing-journal
- Journal of the Community Development Society
17 South High St., Suite 200 Columbus, OH 43215 Phone: 614-221-1900 Web: https://www.comm-dev.org/professional-development/cds-journal
- Main Street Now: The Journal of the National Trust Main Street Center
National Main Street Center 1785 Massachusetts Ave., NW Washington, DC 20036 Phone: 202-588-6219 W eb:https://www.mainstreet.org/howwecanhelp/resourcecenter/mainstreetnowjournal
American Planning Association 205 North Michigan Ave. Suite 1200 Chicago, IL 60601 Phone: 312-431-9100 Web: https://www.planning.org/planning/
- Preservation Magazine
National Trust for Historic Preservation 1785 Massachusetts Ave., NW Washington, DC 20036 Phone: 1-800-944-6847 202-588-6000 Web: https://savingplaces.org/preservation-magazine?_ga=1.228951516.1588428804.1442412214#.ViULn36rRaQ
- Public Management (PM)
International City/County Management Association 777 North Capitol St., NE, Suite 500 Washington, DC 20002 Phone: 202-289-4262 Web: https://icma.org/contact-pm
- Public Works Magazine
Hanley Wood, LLC One Thomas Circle NW Suite 600 Washington, DC 20005 Phone:888-269-8410 Web: http://www.pwmag.com/magazine/
- American Planning Association 205 North Michigan Ave. Suite 1200 Chicago, IL 60601 Phone: 312-431-9100 Web: https://www.planning.org/ A non-profit, public interest group that focuses on research, policy, education and information dissemination for practicing planners, officials, and citizens involved with urban and rural planning issues. Also has the Small Towns and Rural Planning Division with specific small town focus.
- Downtown Research & Development Center 712 Main Street, Suite 187B Boonton, NJ 07005 Phone: 800-232-4317 Web: https://ddc.downtowndevelopment.com/ Analyzes and reports on downtown problems and solutions. Conducts research, publishes books, reports and studies, holds seminars and workshops and acts as the international clearinghouse on downtown revitalization.
- International City/County Management Association (ICMA) 777 North Capital Street, NE, Suite 500 Washington, DC 20002 Phone: 202-289-4262 Web: https://icma.org/ The "professional and educational organization representing appointed managers and administrators in local governments." Services include: annual conference; publications; research; and special focused initiatives that include Brownfields, sustainable communities, Intelligent transportation systems, performance measurement, military base reuse smart growth and best practices symposium are just some of the many programs.
- International Downtown Association 1025 Thomas Jefferson Street, NW, Suite 500W Washington, DC 20007 Phone: 202-393-6801 Web: https://www.ida-downtown.org/eweb/ "Dedicated to the revitalization of downtown areas and their adjacent neighborhoods. Focuses its programs on effective management of downtowns, including retailing, security, maintenance, physical design, business development, transportation, culture and entertainment."
- National Association of Towns and Townships (NATaT) 1130 Connecticut Ave., Suite 300 Washington, DC 20036 Phone: 866-830-0008 Web: http://www.natat.org Provides technical assistance, educational services, and public policy support to local government officials of small communities across the country. Conducts research and develops public policy recommendations to help improve the quality of life in small communities.
- National Main Street Center The Watergate Office Building, 2600 Virginia Avenue NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20037 Phone: 312-610-5619 Web: https://www.mainstreet.org/home Assists states, communities and citizens in the revitalization of business districts within a preservation context. Provides information and consultation on downtown revitalization, through technical assistance, the National Main Street Network, conferences, products and Main Street Certification Institute.
Regional Rural Development Centers
The four regional rural development centers, http://rrdc.info coordinate rural development research and extension education through out the United States. They focus on social and economic problems common to rural areas of the region through a cooperative multi disciplinary effort, including financing, public services, fiscal analyses and leadership roles. They studies economic development, improved community facilities and services, capacity building and natural resources.
- North Central Regional Center for Rural Development Michigan State University Justin S. Morrill Hall of Agriculture Michigan State University 446 W. Circle Drive, Room 66 East Lansing, MI 48824 Phone: 517-355-3373 Web: https://www.canr.msu.edu/ncrcrd/
- Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development The Pennsylvania State University 7 Armsby Building University Park, PA 16802-5602 Phone: 814-863-4656 Web: https://aese.psu.edu/nercrd
- Southern Rural Development Center Mississippi State University Box 9656 190 Bost-North (postal delivery) Mississippi State, MS 39762 Phone: 662-325-3207 Web: http://srdc.msstate.edu
- Western Rural Development Center Utah State University 4880 Old Main Hill Logan, UT 84322-4880 Phone: 435-797-2798 Web: http://wrdc.usu.edu