Join us for


An action-oriented leadership development program

Helping communities solve
real-world problems

Main Street Accelerator is an action-oriented leadership development program
focused on helping communities better their downtown by implementing a specific project, 
such as launching a new initiative or addressing a challenge.

By the end of the Accelerator program, each community will have a completed project plan and the opportunity to receive grant funding to execute the project.

Main Street Accelerator is a perfect fit for communities with an identified challenge or opportunity that has public support,
but needs organization, guidance, and extra attention.

Program Overview


Participating communities will bring a defined challenge and a project idea that addresses the problem. Types of challenges may include, but are not limited to, negative perception, too many vacancies, lack of foot traffic, etc.

Communities with a defined project scope will have the opportunity to brainstorm various solutions, troubleshooting different scenarios and aspects of the initiative(s) to develop a plan that ensures success. Examples of problem-solving initiatives include programming vacant lot(s) or storefronts, historic or community preservation efforts, supporting small businesses, launching or improving a market or festival, creating or improving a public space, launching a sustainability initiative, increasing arts and cultures programming, etc. It should be noted that challenges or initiatives exclusively focused on infrastructure are not a good fit for the Accelerator program.


  • The Accelerator program is open to all Connecticut communities with a Main Street, downtown, village center, or commercial corridor.
  • The program is limited to 10 communities through an application process. Preference will be given to existing CMSC members; however, non-CMSC members are encouraged to apply and, if accepted, will receive a 1-year CMSC membership.
  • Main Street management is collaborative in nature. Each accepted community must have 3-5 stakeholders in the program to ensure the project’s success. The participant group should be made up of:
    • At least one individual who is a paid professional and has decision-making power/authority in their downtown, for example, Main Street/downtown manager, economic development director, etc.
    • Other participants should be representative of their downtown’s stakeholders, for example, board members, commissioners, volunteers, other municipal department officials, business owners, property owners, anchor institutions, etc.
  • The community must have a specific project in mind that fits the “Types of Projects” description that will specifically impact its Main Street, downtown, village center, or commercial corridor.


Every participant will get log-in access to the Main Street Accelerator Community platform. Each month, content will be released via the platform that includes articles, videos, resources, and individual and group assignments. There is a virtual class gathering every month to go into further detail on that month’s topic and to hear from a guest speaker. Each community will have 3 group coaching calls throughout the program to get specific, tailored advice on their project.