Main Street Awards

2018 Main Street Awards Criteria & Application

North Dakota’s Main Street Initiative is a shared vision of healthy, vibrant communities that through fiscally responsible planning, attract the talent needed to support our growing economy. The Main Street Awards honor communities who show excellence in these principles by actively working to differentiate and enhance the quality of life for their residents, present and future.

The Main Street Awards are a collaborative effort of the Office of Governor Doug Burgum, North Dakota Department of Commerce and North Dakota League of Cities. The 2018 awards will be presented during the North Dakota League of Cities Annual Conference on September 13-15, Grand Forks Alerus Center.


Nomination Process

The nomination period has ended.  A selection committee made up of the collaborating agencies and partners will judge entries on the below criteria to make final awards.Grand Forks, ND

Award Types & Criteria 

These awards are an opportunity for communities to showcase their unique efforts and attributes, and call attention to the tangible benefits an engaged community can create. Projects submitted for consideration should take place in the time frame of July 2016 – June 2018. Brief descriptions of award categories can be found below. For a complete listing of criteria for all awards, download below.



ND Legendary Heritage Award

This award recognizes communities focused on preserving and protecting the historical assets of their towns. By honoring historical buildings and structures, North Dakota’s communities connect generations of residents and inspire community pride.

Examples: restoring a historic opera house; renovating a city hall into an entertainment venue; developing a historic lake for recreation; a new scenic overlook and signage at a cultural site.

Revitalizer Award

This award recognizes communities that take empty or dilapidated lots or structures and revitalize them with updated infrastructure, mixed-use retail, residential, parks or other unique assets. Communities should demonstrate use of existing infrastructure, infusing it with new and innovative ideas, to ensure the most efficient use of public resources.

Examples: converting an empty lot into an outdoor summer theater; updating a vacant building into a retail/residential space downtown; turning a lot into a community event or green space.

Vibrancy Award

This award recognizes communities that have established cultural experiences, art appreciation, fine arts opportunities and/or community events which draw residents and visitors. By providing a variety of experiences to residents and visitors, the vibrancy of North Dakota will continue to grow.

Examples: activating an alley with an event; development of programming like TEDx or 1 Million Cups; community-focused conference or event; creating a farmer’s market; an outdoor concert series or art gallery.

Mobilizer Award

This award recognizes community efforts in creating convenient, inviting and multimodal transportation options for residents and visitors. These projects put a focus on walkability and biking and create accessible communities that help North Dakota to improve its health, economy and connectivity.

Examples: creation of a historic, walking tour of the community; new walking/bike trails in a green area; development of an accessible play area; use of pop-up trails; development of an outdoor fitness space.

Differentiator Award

This award recognizes a community that finds its unique strength, community asset or niche while using it to attract business, workforce, visitors and enhance resident’s quality of life.

Examples: community festival or event; local hunting or fishing venue; active theater/arts community; unique children’s programming or recreation opportunities; free 1-year gym membership to new residents.

Future Leaders Empowerment Award

This award recognizes a community that seeks to engage students in creating a healthy, vibrant community through leadership development, community planning or workforce exploration in community industries.

Examples: explore histories of Main Street structures; connections with local businesses and students; students engaged in community improvement or development.

Main Street Excellence Award

This award will be presented to four individual communities in the population categories of: 1) 10,000 and above; 2) 9,999 - 1,500; 3) 1,499 to 500; 4) Less than 500. These awards will recognize communities whose efforts emulate the three pillar of Main Street success - Smart, Efficient Infrastructure; 21st Century Workforce; and Healthy, Vibrant Communities.

Note: Overall winner will be chosen from the top 12 communities from all submissions. Individual community selections will be chosen within their respective population categories.