General Links
Economic Restructuring

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General Links

International Downtown Association
IDA maintains a members-only network that links downtown organizations, provides discounts on consultants, training, conferences and other services, and spreads information on healthy downtown development.

Main Street Innovation Lab: Webinar Series
The National Trust has a series of webinars available to view for $10.00 on topics such as business recruitment and retention, designing on a dime, and green main streets.

Main Street Reinvestment Statistics
View the reinvestment statistics from 2011 to 2006. The National Trust Main Street Center annually collects statistical information on economic activity in local designated Main Street communities nationwide.

Minnesota Historical Society
The Minnesota Historical Society’s website has information on grant opportunities and events including conferences and trainings.

Minnesota Main Street Members Area
This section of Minnesota Main Street is for members only. As part of your benefits of being a Main Street member, you will receive an invitation to access this area. Some of the materials include handbooks, reference materials, topic information sheets, event examples, webinars, and the list of books and DVDs available to check out through our Book Exchange program.

Minnesota Regional Development Commissions
This website has links to Minnesota’s nine Regional Development Commissions (RDCs). RDCs cover 63 counties, and provide a variety of technical assistance in their regions, including community development, grant writing, transportation planning, housing services, economic development assistance, business and marketing training, senior services and tourism development.

National Main Street Allied Services Directory
A comprehensive list of technical specialists and product suppliers for commercial district revitalization.

National Trust Main Street Center
The National Trust Main Street Center is part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and has many resources included upcoming training events, webinars, articles relating to the different areas of the Main Street 4 Point Approach, and a solution center.

USDA Rural Information Center
The RIC website is full of information and resources aimed at revitalizing rural communities. Their Downtown Revitalization page in the “Publications” section has many links that may be especially useful.

University of Minnesota Extension
Extension provides practical information related to the environment, food and agriculture, communities, families and youth development—Main Street programs may find the Community section especially useful.

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Blandin Foundation
Blandin Foundation is an independent, private foundation based in Grand Rapids, MN that works to strengthen rural Minnesota communities through grants and scholarships, local leadership development, and public policy programs.

BoardSource provides information and resource materials, consulting services, workshops and events related to forming effective nonprofit boards.
This is a free online petition generator. Whether you choose to use’s service or not, their “How to Write a Petition” page has helpful information on how to plan and carry out a successful petition campaign.

Energize, Inc.
The Energize website is full of information and resources on how to manage and lead volunteers.

Foundation Center
Foundation Center works to link nonprofit organizations with foundations, corporate donors, and grant-making charities worldwide. Their resources may help you broaden your search to secure funding for your organization.

Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
The MCN website has information and news updates related to nonprofit organizations in Minnesota. Their Starting a Nonprofit page is especially useful for new organizations.

Nonprofit Accounting Basics
This website, run by a collaborative organization made up of members of the accounting and nonprofit fields, has information on how to start a nonprofit, manage accounts, file taxes, deal with audits, and more.

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The American Institute of Architects
AIA is the leading professional membership association for licensed architects in the U.S. You can also visit the Minnesota chapter of the AIA.

American Planning Association
APA is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities. Visit the Minnesota chapter of APA here.

American Society of Landscape Architects
ASLA is the national professional organization for American landscape architects. Its mission is to lead, to educate, and to participate in the careful stewardship, wise planning, and artful design of our cultural and natural environments. See the Minnesota chapter of ASLA here.

Center for Rural Design
CRD is a joint research studio of the University of Minnesota’s College of Design (CDes)and College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS). It aims to help communities find innovative, design-based solutions to rural issues.

DOCOMOMO stands for “DOcumentation and COnservation of buildings, sites and neighborhoods of the MOdern MOvement.” They are a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of Modern architecture.

Essential Smart Growth Fixes for Rural Planning, Zoning, and Development Codes
This report from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers ten essential fixes to help rural communities amend their codes, ordinances, and development requirements to promote more environmentally and economically sustainable growth.

This is the online catalog of the Library of Congress Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) and Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) programs. Here, you can access thousands of photos, drawings, and other documentation of historic structures and landscapes from across the country.

Historic Structure Reports
This brief from the National Park Service outlines how to document historic buildings and prepare effective historic structure reports. New Jersey’s Historic Preservation Office provides a more detailed explanation here.

Minnesota Complete Streets Coalition
“Complete Streets” is a philosophy that promotes planning streets that are safe and accessible for pedestrians, transit drivers, cyclists and drivers. Compete Streets aims to create streets that are safe for seniors and children, reduce traffic accidents, improve local transit options, lower transportation costs for families, create more vibrant neighborhoods, and spur economic development.

Minnesota Design Team
MDT is an all-volunteer organization made up of members from design professions like architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, and others. Their goal is to use design-based solutions to help small Minnesota communities develop in a positive, healthy and sustainable manner.

Minnesota GreenStep Cities
GreenStep Cities is a program of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency that encourages sustainability and green development in towns and cities across the state. This website has useful tips on how to make yours an environmentally friendly town, as well as information on how to be recognized as a Minnesota GreenStep City.

Minnesota Historical Structure Rehabilitation Tax Credit
This page has information on how to receive a 20% state tax credit for qualified historic rehabilitation projects.

Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office
SHPO is an office of MHS responsible for identifying, registering, and protecting historic buildings in Minnesota. Their website has information on how to preserve historic buildings, nominate buildings for the National Register, research a property’s history, and apply for grants and tax credits.

NPS Preservation Briefs
This 47-part series of National Park Service information briefs provides practical guidance on the preservation, rehabilitation and restoration of historic buildings.

National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse
NTEC provides information on how communities can secure federal Transportation Enhancement (TE) funding for a variety of local projects, including pedestrian and bicycle facilities, rails-to-trails programs, rehabilitation of historic transportation buildings, and more. See their “12 TE Activities” page for detailed descriptions of projects eligible for TE funds.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center
The PBIC provides information about health and safety, engineering, advocacy, education, enforcement, access, and mobility for pedestrians (including transit users) and bicyclists. They have a series of webinars on designing for pedestrian safety which can help communities address pedestrian safety issues through design and engineering solutions.

Preserve America
The Preserve America Initiative is a federal program dedicated to encouraging community efforts to protect America’s natural and cultural heritage. Preserve America recognizes communities with outstanding preservation efforts, awards federal grant money, and gives awards for notable accomplishments.

Preservation Directory
This is a directory of websites related to historic buildings and historic preservation. It includes links to preservation organizations, history museums, grants and funding sources, historic real estate listings, historic lodgings, preservation events and conferences, and more.

Projects for Public Spaces
Projects for Public Spaces is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating and sustaining public places that build communities.

Putting Transit to Work in Main Street America
Putting Transit to Work in Main Street America: How Smaller Cities and Rural Places Are Using Transit and Mobility Investments to Strengthen Their Economies and Communities is a report from Reconnecting America. In this report, the researchers have explored how smaller cities, towns, and rural places are integrating transit into their communities. This report is intended to help local planners, elected leader s, and policymakers understand the strategies, partnerships, resources, and plans being enacted in comparable communities across the country.

Scenic America
Scenic America is a nonprofit organization that fights for the protection of America’s scenic landscapes, both natural and manmade. On their website, you can find information on scenic conservation workshops, technical assistance and publications, as well as discussion about major issues like billboards and sign control, communications and utility towers, transportation design, and natural conservation.

Statewide Studies on the Economic Impacts of Historic Preservation
This page has links to historic preservation impact studies and reports from 21 states from around the country. Minnesota is not included, but it may be helpful to see findings from other states.

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The 3/50 Project
3/50 is a business movement that supports shopping local and supporting independent businesses. Registering for a free membership grants access to information on how to participate.

American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA)
AMIBA is a national nonprofit that helps communities launch independent business alliances (IBA), “buy independent, buy local” campaigns, and other community enterprise projects.

Business Alliance for Local Living Communities
BALLE is another organization dedicated to promoting local independent businesses; they focus on positive social effects on a community as well as the economic side of a healthy local business environment.

Challenges of the Future: The Rebirth of Small Independent Retail in America
This is a guide to new retail and marketing strategies aimed at helping small independent businesses succeed in the 21st century.

Explore Minnesota
Minnesota’s tourism promotion office website has information on how to get listed in tourism publications, advertise, and attract visitors.

An online community for independent bookstores that promotes local and independent businesses of all kinds.

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Economic Restructuring

This site contains a variety of business and industry statistics, financial ratios, glossaries, and other useful data.

Bureau of Indian Affairs: Division of Economic Development
The BIA Division of Economic Development works to create jobs and nurture sustainable economies on Indian reservations. On their website, you can find information about free management and entrepreneurship training, nation rebuilding training, community planning and other technical assistance.

City Special Service Districts
This information brief from the Minnesota House of Representatives explains Special Service Districts (SSDs), the services they provide, and how they can help commercial and industrial districts.

Downtown Economic Development Tools
This page is a collection of economic development resources aimed at cities and towns with populations less than 100,000. It is run by the Center for Community and Economic Development and the University of Wisconsin Extension program.

Demographics, market segmentation, and consumer spending information.

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
IATP is a Minnesota-born global institute that focuses on rural economic policy. Their projects include work on promoting sustainable agriculture and industry, improving rural food and energy systems, dealing with issues like immigration and climate change and strengthening opportunities for rural youth.

Institute for Local Self-Reliance
ILSR is a national institute based in Minneapolis and Washington, DC that provides communities with tools to create stronger, more efficient, more environmentally-friendly local economies. On this website, you can access ILSR publications, as well as articles on a variety of issues ranging from big-box retail to municipal broadband networks and community banking to sustainable biomaterials.

A Manual for Small Downtowns
This is a comprehensive “how-to” manual for small-town revitalization published by the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology at Penn State University. It is aimed at communities with limited budgets, and stresses volunteerism and coalition-building.

Turning Around Downtown: Twelve Steps to Revitalization
This report from the Brookings Institute explains the benefits of “walkable urbanism” and describes a twelve-step plan for creating vibrant commercial districts. It is directed at larger cities, but many of its ideas are applicable to commercial districts of any size.

This is an organization made up of thousands of volunteer members who are current or former business owners, executives and corporate leaders. These volunteers help to train and educate entrepreneurs and advise small businesses and start-ups. SCORE is affiliated with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

U.S. Small Business Administration
The SBA is a government administration that helps small businesses secure capital, gives training and counseling to small-business entrepreneurs, provides disaster relief for business owners, arranges government contracting programs, and advocates on behalf of small businesses.

USDA: Rural Community Federal Resource Guide
This publication compiles all of the federal resources that can support rural communities in their efforts to promote economic competitiveness, protect healthy environments, modernize infrastructure and provide services to residents. The guide has key information on funding and technical assistance opportunities available, as well as examples of how rural communities across the country have benefitted from federal resources

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