Virginia Main Street
Virginia Main Street (VMS), a division of the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), is one of Virginia’s leading organizations in community development and economic revitalization. Established in 1985, VMS has grown to serve over 100 downtowns and commercial districts in communities throughout Virginia and has helped generate thousands of new jobs and millions of dollars in public and private investment. In 2020, the Virginia General Assembly awarded $8 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to VMS, to be allocated and expended by FY2027. VMS enlisted the Berkley Group to develop a five-year strategic plan outlining how to best allocate ARPA funding to expand the various technical services and assistance offered to its communities.
The Berkley Group employed a robust approach to strategic plan development. In addition to best practices research and interviews with directors of high-performing Main Street coordinating programs around the country, the Berkley Group facilitated three focus groups with a diverse group of program directors, a statewide survey, and individual interviews and regular check-ins with VMS staff. A steering committee – comprised of VMS staff and six directors from around the state – met monthly to provide oversight and feedback on the plan development process. The final strategic plan included objectives and strategies organized by Main Street America’s “four-point” approach to community and economic development: economic vitality, design, promotion, and organization. Metrics were included for each objective, and a comprehensive implementation plan with expenditure and timeline details was included to provide VMS with the framework to implement the strategic plan. The Berkley Group ensured the successful completion of the strategic plan in three months, allowing the VMS team to continue moving forward with allocating funding and beginning expansion of technical assistance.
The project included:
Virtual meeting facilitation
Existing document analysis and priority item identification
Best practices research
Strategic planning and visioning
The project was completed and provided to VMS staff for their use and implementation in June 2022.