Officially started in 1999, Jacksonville Main Street is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing downtown Jacksonville. Virtually everyone in the area is a stake-holder in the success of downtown, therefore, understanding that the vitality of downtown Jacksonville is a direct benefit to all citizens and businesses of Jacksonville and the surrounding region, we are the only charitable organization that reinvests all of its profits back into the downtown.
As one of over 20 Main Street communities in Illinois, this alliance of local agencies, merchants, property owners, and patrons follows the National Main Street Center’s Four Point Approach, incorporating a comprehensive revitalization strategy to foster economic development within the context of historic preservation by working in the areas of design, organization, promotion and economic vitality. Since 1980, Main Street has been a major force nationally in downtown revitalization with proven principles and strategies.
With local funding as its sole source of revenue, Jacksonville Main Street receives no operational money from ANY state or national sources. Jacksonville Main Street is a public/private partnership that occasionally receives foundation or government grant funds for specific projects, but not for general program management or the support provided to business and property owners that ultimately benefits the economic health of the entire region. Project grants typically make up less than 10% of the annual budget and can only be used on the activity for which they were sought. The organization receives less than a quarter of its annual budget from the City, about a third from tax deductible donations from residents and area businesses through the annual Partnership Drive, and the rest from events and fundraisers.
Now seen as a vital part of our community, downtown Jacksonville has begun to flourish, with several rehabilitation projects, more public and private partnerships, many new businesses and expansions, and enhanced promotional events that contribute to its continued growth and development.
Jacksonville Main Street’s work does not happen overnight or all by itself: It is an ongoing and gradual process that began with small steps and small projects. As the program and local support continues to grow, larger more complex challenges have been and will continue to be met. It takes constant nurturing to maintain and preserve a healthy, vibrant downtown area. Hence, Jacksonville Main Street is not a project with a beginning and an end, but an organization with continual goals and evolving objectives. To learn about our journey thus far, watch our video here. And learn some more about the architecture of downtown here.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
― Margaret Mead
Our mission is to enhance the quality of life, cultivate the historic integrity, and help businesses thrive through partnerships and programming in downtown Jacksonville.
Downtown Jacksonville will be a great place to visit, live, work, and play. Building on past successes, the City, committed citizens, and many organizations in the community - with Jacksonville Main Street in the lead - will work in partnership to create a fun, vibrant, and attractive downtown with a distinct "wow" factor.
Many attractions and a full calendar of events will draw visitors year-round. Diverse and interesting places to shop and eat will fill the storefronts, and upper stories will provide diverse residential offerings as well as unique office spaces.
Downtown will be the cultural arts center for the community. In a beautiful, historic, pedestrian- and bike-friendly environment, more people will choose to work and live downtown because it is convenient, attractive, safe, and fun. The square will be the economic hub for small, locally-owned businesses, supported by business-friendly policies and financial incentives. Downtown will be the "location of choice" within the region.
Guiding this vision, Jacksonville Main Street will be fully staffed and well-funded, viewed as a "go-to" organization and a major player with the City in planning and development efforts. Many creative partnerships will support a comprehensive vision for the downtown, and all citizens will feel they have a stake in the future of the community.