Historic Lebanon Receives 2019 National Main Street Accreditation 

Lebanon, TN  May 1, 2019  Historic Lebanon 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 partners announce the list of accredited Main Street America programs to recognize their exemplary commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization through the Main Street Approach™

“We are proud to acknowledge this year’s 840 nationally accredited Main Street America programs that have worked tirelessly to strengthen their communities  said Patrice Frey, President & CEO of the National Main Street Center. “These programs deserve recognition for generating impressive economic returns, preserving community character, and celebrating local history. Main Street America Accredited communities are part of a powerful movement of change makers, and their dedication to improving quality of life in the places they call home is inspiring.

In 2018 alone, Main Street America programs generated $4.93 billion in local reinvestment, helped open 5,310 net new businesses, generated 25,301 net new jobs, catalyzed the rehabilitation of 8,146historic buildings, and clocked 2.2 million volunteer hours.

The Historic Lebanon performance is annually evaluated by the Tennessee Main Street program which works in partnership with the National Main Street Center to identify the local programs that meet ten national 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, documenting programmatic progress, and actively preserving historic buildings.

In 2018, $475,000.00 dollars were invested in our local Main Street district.  This combined with the amounts from 2016 and 2017 bring the total dollar amount, private and public, invested in the Main Street district to slightly over 8 million dollars over the past three years.

During 2018, there were twelve building renovation projects, ten new businesses, and 48 new jobs in the District. All of this incredible economic vitality is a direct result of partnerships Historic Lebanon has leveraged with the community, investors and the City of Lebanon ECD.  “I am proud of our hard work and the results we have achieved, stated Kim Parks, executive director for Historic Lebanon.  One statistic I am especially proud of is the number of volunteer hours dedicated to our program, in 2018 we had over 1,050 hours invested by our board and the community “commented Parks.

Historic Lebanon’s focus is to preserve historic buildings, increase tourism, entice more entrepreneurs and to create a sense of place in our historic downtown core.  They are creating a vibrant area with restaurants, retail/office spaces and urban living.  Another goal of the program is a more walkable downtown with public green spaces, a direct connection to the Music City Star commuter train station with a walking trail and the installation of public art.  These improvements will create a gathering place for locals as well as increase tourism to the historic downtown.

 Simply put; Historic Lebanon strives to enhance Lebanon’s quality of life and to increase our profile as a great small town.  

Historic Lebanon is a strong advocate for the proper development of our Square and surrounding neighborhoods for now and for generations to come.  

Historic Lebanon is also in charge of the local Tennessee Main Street program.  A real advantage of Main Street communities is the program’s strength in achieving economic vitality.  Studies show for every one dollar invested in a historic downtown, there is a thirty-six dollar return.  This return on investment (ROI) is achieved by using the four points of the Main Street program, Design, Organization, Promotion and Economic Vitality to present our Square is its best light. These four elements come together to create positive economic progress for the community.

In the past two years, we have received two major grants from the TN Main Street program.  First, is the Façade Improvement Grant ($100,000) for historic properties on the Public Square and second is the TN Main Street Entrepreneur Grant ($50,000).  2018 saw the completion of our façade improvement grant projects for five historic Public Square buildings.  Historic Lebanon is very pleased we were able to use the grant money to rehab five buildings, all being empty for several years, into viable, sales tax producing spaces in our Main Street area. Funding these façade projects with the grant allowed the property owners to leverage additional money for the complete rehabilitation of their properties. The buildings now have proper facades and design features that follow the Secretary of the Interiors Standards for Rehabilitation.
All five buildings are now fully occupied, all utilizing not only the bottom floor space but the upper story as well. The projects have created/recruited six new businesses and given home to two existing ones. These include a much requested full service restaurant, a coffee shop, three boutiques, a yoga studio, two professional offices and a residential loft apartment.

Our Cumberland Ignite Lab-entrepreneur center is funded with the Main Street Entrepreneur Grant.  The center is used for classes, training and has a Co-Work space upstairs.  Historic Lebanon sees an opportunity in our community to “garden” our young entrepreneurial talents while fostering relationships with our established entrepreneurs. Hopefully, this cultivation will lead to a more diverse mix of businesses and owners in the Main Street district and a more progressive economic development culture for the community.

The Historic Lebanon 2019-2021 Work Plan will focus on these key recommended Transformation Strategies:

Place-Making and Reinvestment – Continue to develop downtown buildings and infrastructure to support new business creation and investments.  Work to create housing in the Main Street district and also in adjoining neighborhoods to attract new residents to support downtown businesses and services.

Multimodal Connectivity – Support City of Lebanon efforts to build sidewalks, trails, greenways and connectivity infrastructure to create an environment where walking and biking is a safe and preferred mode of transportation for residents and visitors.

Entrepreneurship and Business Development – Historic Lebanon and City of Lebanon leaders and community partners can build upon our recent success to create new Main Street business development targets and support entrepreneur and business creation services and incentives.

Market Research and Positioning – Continue market data collection and analysis and potentially complete a market study for the downtown district which can provide in depth information on local and regional markets and consumer preferences. This data can become the basis for targeted business creation, entrepreneurial services, new downtown and adjoining neighborhood resident recruitment, destination tourism, downtown marketing, events, and promotion efforts.

Branding and Promotions – Continue to promote our Main Street District to the Middle Tennessee Region.  Use this strategy to recruit new businesses, entrepreneurs, investors, tourists and new residents to the area.  Highlight our commuter rail system, historic downtown business core and surrounding neighborhoods.



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 1,600 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 $79.12 billion in new public and private investment, generated640,017 net new jobs and 143,613 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 284,936 buildings. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.