Madison Great American Main Street Award


Main Street America announced that the Madison Main Street Program in Madison, Indiana, has received the prestigious Great American Main Street Award (GAMSA), which recognizes communities for their excellence in the comprehensive, preservation-based revitalization of commercial districts. The 2024 GAMSA Awards, sponsored by The Hartford, were presented at the opening plenary of the Main Street Now Conference in Birmingham, Alabama.

Selected by a national jury of industry professionals and local leaders in economic development and historic preservation, the Madison Main Street Program is recognized for fostering a culture of hospitality, celebrating historic preservation, and fostering collaboration among the communities.

“The success of the Madison Main Street program is a strong testament to the classic Main Street model and sustainable change over time,” said Erin Barnes, president and CEO of Main Street America. “Their fearless dedication to nurturing historic preservation and their tenacious drive to find creative solutions unlocks the magic of Madison.”

Founded in 1979 as one of the nation’s first three pilot Main Street programs, the Madison Main Street Program (MMSP) has leveraged the unique assets of their community to create a downtown district vibrant with historic character, local pride and more than 270 local businesses. When MMSP began implementing the Main Street Approach, downtown Madison in the late 1970s faced many of the same problems plaguing most rural towns in the Midwest: the disappearance of residents and businesses due to urban sprawl. Over the past four decades, MMSP leaders and partners have reversed this trend through community consensus and initiatives that balance historic preservation with progressive ideas.

The Madison Main Street Program’s commitment to historic preservation is evident in work plans that leverage partnerships with community preservation organizations, historic sites and local experts. For example, MMSP fosters the protection of historic structures through free preservation-based workshops and brings local history to life through their “This Place Matters” banners. Additionally, the organization’s Design Committee volunteers help business owners create architecturally appropriate facades for their storefronts by researching and locating historic photos of their buildings.

“The Madison Main Street Program is not just about revitalization: it is about sparking possibility and turning aspirations into tangible realities for our community,” said Austin Sims, executive director of the Madison Main Street Program. “Our 40+ journey is marked by milestones and community spirit. While this recognition celebrates our past achievements, it is also just a glimpse of the journey ahead.

“Madison is the first Indiana Main Street community to win the Great American Main Street Award in the last 25 years,” said Andrea Kern, director of Strategic Initiatives and Indiana Main Street coordinator in the Office of Community and Rural Affairs. “Madison Main Street is more than deserving of this recognition, with 40 years of proven success and pioneering work in Main Street in Indiana and across the country.”


Madison Main Street is a team of residents, business owners, property owners and civic leaders working together to ensure downtown Madison is a vibrant place to live, work, shop, dine, visit and play. Madison’s Main Street commercial district is a vibrant community where people of all ages and lifestyles choose to live. History and heritage are revered, culture and the arts are celebrated, historic preservation is a community obligation, and the National Historic Landmark District is a source of local pride. For more information, visit