Purpose & Needs

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The northern project boundary roughly corresponds with a line-of-sight from Congress Street.

Main Street Approach

Elements of this project were designed to mesh with the National Trust’s Main Street program.  Created by an act of Congress in 1949, the National Trust for Historic Preservation is “a private, non-profit organization dedicated to saving historic places and revitalizing America’s communities.”  In the late 1970s, the National Trust created their Main Street program, which has served as a template for revitalization of more than 1,200 towns and cities in 42 states.  The program has a proven track record of success for helping residents, business owners and local officials in a community to work together to spur economic development.  As discussed in the Main Street’s website, “the Main Street Approach advocates a return to community self-reliance, local empowerment, and rebuilding of traditional commercial districts based on their unique assets: distinctive architecture, a pedestrian-friendly environment, personal service, local ownership, and a sense of community.”  As the student website shows, the Mount Ida neighborhood includes these attributes and more.  The upper Congress Street corridor has an abundance of historic architecture.  The planned Department of Transportation project will restore a pedestrian-friendly environment and strengthen ties with the RPI campus community.  New businesses have started recently, enhancing the economic diversity in the neighborhood.  It is clear that the Mount Ida neighborhood has already begun to turn around, but further effort is needed to ensure that the momentum continues to build.

The Main Street Four-Point Approach TM is a comprehensive strategy that integrates efforts in four topics, including: (1) Organization, (2) Design, (3) Economic Restructuring, and (4) Promotion.  Underlying these four topics is a series of eight guiding principles: comprehensive, incremental, self-help, partnerships, identifying and capitalizing on existing assets, quality, change, and implementation. 

Organization is something that the Mount Ida neighborhood lacks.  Effective organization serves as the cornerstone for economic development and community well-being.  Anecdotal evidence shows that local residents and business owners would welcome ideas and guidance in forging effective and cooperative relationships.


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