The Winona Main Street Program (a partnership between the Winona Chamber of Commerce and the City of Winona) is a nationally accredited Main Street Program focused on the revitalization of downtown Winona, Minnesota. Since its inception in 2013, the Winona Main Street Program has supported business growth, development, events, and residential life in downtown.
The Winona Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee found through member visits with major employers their desire for "something to be done" about downtown in order to recruit and retain young talent. Then Young Professionals Committee was formed and attention turned to downtown.
During this time an ad hoc group had formed to fill the void in downtown and create/promote events and activity. It chose to operate outside of the umbrella of the Chamber and had a few successful years. Eventually the group faded.
With changes in city leadership, the state of Minnesota letting go of Main Street planning and Preservation Alliance of Minnesota taking up the charge for the Main Street Program, the time was right for the Winona Main Street to form under the Chamber of Commerce.
Winona becomes an officially accredited Main Street community through the Minnesota Main Street Program.
Under the leadership of the Steering Committee (and guided by the four point approach designed by the National Main Street Program), four sub-committees and numerous volunteers, Winona Main Street began work on downtown revitalization and key events, such as Spring and Fall Spruce Up's, Touch A Truck, Sweet Stroll, Holiday events and the Big Muddy Brew 'N Que.
The Main Street Refresh is instituted, allowing Main Street Programs to focus more on measurable outcomes rather than adhering to specific processes.
The program continues to be guided by the principles of the four point approach.
In October of 2019 members from the Main Street Program committees, employees from the City of Winona and Port Authority, Downtown stakeholders, and community members met and discussed what the Main Street Program will focus on for the next three years as we move into the next chapterDowntown Winona.
For the next several years the Winona Main Street Program will be focusing on improving the Dining & Nightlife hours between 5 and 9 p.m. during the weekday, as well as making Downtown Winona a more appealing place for workers and residents to spend time by focusing on beautification efforts and overall aesthetic improvements.
"The downtown is the only part of the city that belongs to everybody. It doesn’t matter where you may find your home; the downtown is yours, too. Investing in the downtown of a city is the only place-based way to benefit all of its citizens at once.
Quoted from: "Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time" – Jeff Speck