Gov. Beshear: Main Street Communities Report $61.4 Million Investment, 649 New Jobs and 126 New Businesses in 2023

Main Street investments include $5.6 million in budget and grant contributions, $23.1 million in private investments and $32.7 million in public investments


FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 29, 2024) - Today, Gov. Andy Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman announced that Kentucky Main Street program communities continued to thrive in 2023 with a reported $61.4 million cumulative investment in downtown commercial districts, generating a net gain of 649 new jobs and 126 new businesses.

The $61.4 million investment includes $5.6 million in budget and grant contributions from counties and cities and $23.1 million in private investments, matched by $32.7 million in public improvements. Public improvements encompass building rehabilitation and renovations, new construction and other enhancement projects.

Additionally, these communities finished the year with a net gain of 393 full-time and 256 part-time jobs, 30 new business expansions, 223 rehabilitation projects, 214 façade and exterior renovation projects, 190 public improvement projects and 10 new construction projects completed in Main Street districts.

“Communities thrive when their downtowns are vibrant, and our Kentucky Main Street program plays a vital role in revitalizing downtowns, attracting new business and opportunities for our people and contributing to Kentucky’s economic growth,” said Gov. Beshear. “Thank you to our Main Street leaders for their dedication to improving their communities for future generations to enjoy.”

“Kentucky’s main streets are the backbone of our communities and the heart of our small towns,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman. “Attracting people, businesses and opportunities, our downtowns help provide prosperity for Kentuckians in every corner of the commonwealth. This year, the Kentucky Main Street program celebrates its 45th anniversary, and it’s a great time to reflect upon the impact this program has on small towns across Kentucky.”

“Today’s news proves that small towns can create a big impact. In supporting communities across the commonwealth, the Kentucky Main Street program has facilitated incredible economic outcomes,” said Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet Secretary Lindy Casebier. “Our Main Streets are the heart and soul of our communities.”

The Kentucky Main Street program has generated more than $4.7 billion of investment throughout the commonwealth since its inception.

In 2023, London Main Street reported a net gain of 36 new businesses, 10 business expansions, 218 new jobs and a cumulative investment of $15.6 million in its downtown district. Julie Rea, London Main Street Director, highlighted the program’s ability to showcase the unique qualities of these communities.

“The Kentucky Main Street program creates community. The experience of walking down our commonwealth's unique main streets tell the stories of our lives. We can reminisce about our childhood and delight in how those buildings are repurposed with just the right touch of nostalgia. Community members can come together and celebrate what makes our town unique. Whether it is honeybuns, fried chicken or historic architecture, our Kentucky Main Streets bring a special slice of hometown pride to the table,” said Rea.

LaGrange Main Street reported $19.4 million in cumulative investment, welcoming a net gain of seven new businesses and 32 new jobs. Teresa Boling, LaGrange Main Street Director, underscores how the program supports local business owners while preserving downtown’s rich history and creating opportunities for the future.

“Local communities are where the American dream wakes up. People with an entrepreneurial spirit can test their wings on a Kentucky Main Street and have lots of support and even a helping hand if they don’t fly successfully,” said Boling. “Having a team at Main Street provides the cheerleaders we need to keep working toward our goals, allowing us to protect this place we call home while creating emotional, physical and spiritual health for the community.”

Paducah Main Street reported $3.3 million in cumulative investment, 26 rehabilitation projects and a net gain of seven new businesses. Nicholas Hutchinson, Paducah Main Street Director, emphasized how the Kentucky Main Street program provides resources for the preservation and revitalization of downtown communities, building community-driven economic growth.

“Kentucky boasts a rich history that is preserved today through various historical resources. Kentucky Main Street is a program that seeks to support communities in their efforts to revitalize their localities by providing technical assistance and leveraging available resources,” said Hutchinson. “This program is built on the successful blueprint of Main Street America, which promotes community-driven economic growth through the development of locally owned businesses. Kentucky Main Street is an excellent opportunity to strengthen local economies, enhance local leadership and improve the overall quality of life for residents.”

The Kentucky Main Street communities’ investments and job creation build on the commonwealth's recent economic momentum, including within the tourism industry.

In November 2023, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that the commonwealth broke an all-time record with nine new tourism development projects set to generate an estimated $301.2 million in economic investment. These projects also expect to create 628 jobs once operational.

Gov. Beshear declared that 2022 was the best year on record for Kentucky tourism, with $12.9 billion generated in economic impact and 91,668 jobs. According to Tourism Economics, 75.9 million travelers visited Kentucky in 2022, spending a total of $8.9 billion across the commonwealth. This generated over $937 million in state and local taxes, resulting in a $536 tax savings for each Kentucky household. Total visitation reached 103% of 2019 volumes, and visitor spending reached 112%. The 2022 figures surpassed the previous record of $11.8 billion in economic impact in 2019.

The state’s bourbon and spirits industry also recorded its best year for growth in 2022, with over $2.1 billion in new investments and approximately 700 new jobs for Kentucky residents. Since the start of his administration, Gov. Beshear has announced roughly 100 new-location and expansion projects within the bourbon and spirits sector, contributing to over $3.9 billion in new investments and more than 1,670 full-time jobs for Kentuckians.

In 2022, Gov. Beshear announced $75 million in ARPA funding to boost the state’s tourism industry and economy. Previously, the Governor dedicated $5.3 million in federal funding to 103 tourism and destination marketing organizations in 88 Kentucky counties.

Since the beginning of his administration, Gov. Beshear has announced more than 1,000 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling over $30.3 billion in announced investments, creating nearly 52,000 jobs. This is the highest investment figure secured during the tenure of any governor in the commonwealth’s history.

For a list of 2023 investments reported by Kentucky Main Street communities, click here. Figures in the report are composed of quarterly reports submitted by participating main streets to the Kentucky Main Street program.

The Kentucky Main Street Association, a non-profit organization, provides support to Main Street communities by assisting with planning, training, fundraising and program support.

The Kentucky Main Street program was created by the Kentucky Heritage Council (KHC)/State Historic Preservation Office in 1979 to reverse economic decline in central business districts through historic preservation and redevelopment of commercial buildings. The statewide program has 24 communities: Bardstown, Beattyville, Campbellsville, Carrollton, Cynthiana, Grayson, Guthrie, LaGrange, London, Maysville, Middlesboro, Morehead, Murray, Paducah, Perryville, Pikeville, Pineville, Salyersville, Scottsville, Shelbyville, Springfield, Taylorsville, Tri-Cities of Cumberland and Williamsburg.

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