Main Streets are an American institution as cherished as bald eagles and apple pie. This year, the National Main Street Center—a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation—has recognized three of the country's top Main Streets for using a preservation-minded approach to revitalize their neighborhoods.
And the winners are:
Audubon Park in Orlando, Florida
A mid-century commercial corridor once dominated by suburban strip malls, Audubon Park was recently transformed into a garden-dotted street teaming with small businesses. A foreclosed church was turned into a hub for culture and food, while the neighborhood association promoted a retro-modern home tour and revitalized dining scene.
Southern hospitality is alive and well in this northern Georgia town—in the midst of the state's wine country, no less. The charming city has a local population of just 6,000, but more than 1 million people visit Dahlonega each year. Its Main Street promotes economic development while implementing design guidelines that preserve the town's Appalachian architectural flair.
Shaw District in Washington, D.C.
Now home to one of D.C.'s most bustling nightlife scenes, Shaw was once an underdeveloped neighborhood. But by promoting affordable housing, arts organizations, and tech businesses over the last 13 years, the neighborhood has retained its multicultural community and boosted its economic activity. In that time, Shaw's historic Howard Theatre was restored and a former Wonder Bread factory was turned into flexible office space for roughly 400 tech start-ups.
The winners were chosen by national jury made of community development workers, past award winners, and government representatives working in community revitalization.