A successful downtown revitalization program can be created by leaders who understand the program’s purpose, develop realistic goals, establish priorities and evaluate and assess progress. A crucial element in planning the direction of the Main Street program is the development of an annual program of work that lists the necessary activities for accomplishing larger objectives and assigns deadlines and responsibilities for each activity.
Undertaking revitalization efforts on Main Street is an incremental approach, requiring the successful implementation of a series of well-planned and orchestrated projects while maintaining a close relationship with the organization’s overall vision, mission and goals.
The development of a work plan serves four (4) purposes:
- To manage the wide range of activities that must take place for the revitalization effort to succeed;
- To develop a timetable and budget for activities;
- To explain the organization’s purpose and its activities to the public; and
- To help measure, in quantifiable terms, the downtown revitalization program’s success.
Elements of a Work Plan
1. Vision and mission statements that reflect the consensus of the community regarding the future condition and character of the downtown business district.
Involving the community with the development of the vision statement and yearly work plan generates support and awareness for the Main Street program. The mission statement should clearly and simply describe the organization’s purpose. The statement should be flexible so it will remain relevant as the organization evolves. In addition to serving as the starting point for developing an annual work plan, the mission statement should be used to explain the downtown revitalization program in press releases, publications, media interviews and at meetings/conferences.
2. A narrative summary or listing of items within the organization’s Program of Work.
In some communities this is optional, but it is useful when orienting new volunteers to committees, when used as a separate public relations piece to promote the organization’s activities and when used as fundraising collateral to explain the program to potential donors and contributors.
3. A goal or goals for each of the organization’s committees.
The board of directors should generally be responsible for establishing the goal statement for each of the Main Street committees. This task should not be delegated to a committee or task force since it is the board that is responsible for the Main Street program’s direction and held accountable for it’s activities.
4. Specific Objectives that provide direction to enable each committee in reaching its goal.
The objectives/strategies for reaching each committee goal should be developed by the respective committee chair and volunteers. Objectives are specific statements outlining how each goal will be reached and identifying the major areas of responsibilities for each committee. Objectives should also relate closely to the issues and priorities that have been established during the visioning or brainstorming session.
5. Projects or activities appropriate to each objective.
Activities are specific projects that have an identified time frame and desired result. Activities should be developed by the committee that will implement them in order to foster a strong sense of empowerment, involvement, and commitment.
6. A listing of tasks to be performed in order to complete each project or activity.
Tasks are specific steps required to complete an activity or project. Assigning specific tasks to each volunteer is the responsibility of the committee or subcommittee chair.
7. A listing of person(s) responsible for completing each task.
Each task should have a person assigned to complete it. This person is not the program manager.
8. A timetable for completing each task.
Each project should have a realistic time frame which shows when the project will be started and when it will be completed.
9. A cost estimate or budget line item for each task.
Each project should have a budget reflecting realistic costs.
10. A method for quantifying progress, returns or results.
Activities must be measurable if a Main Street program is to gauge its progress, to set standards for future activities, and to demonstrate its overall success.