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our history

The Main Street Program was established in 1980 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to address and combat the threats on the commercial architecture and economic vitality of small city downtowns. Today there are over 60 Main Street communities in Illinois, with more being added each year. Pekin Main Street is a nonprofit organization which received its official charter as an "Illinois Main Street Community" on April 5, 1999. Pekin Main Street has a comprehensive plan for downtown revitalization, including adoption of design guidelines, incentives for building rehabilitation, customer surveys and basic market analysis, and the creation of several new downtown special events.

Our Mission

The mission statement for Pekin Main Street reads... "To preserve, restore and revitalize Pekin's downtown area, both aesthetically and economically, through educating the entire community to the benefits of Pekin's downtown." To accomplish the above mission statement, a four-point approach is used:

  • Build an effective volunteer-driven downtown mangement organization, guided by professional staff, with broad-based public and private sector support.
  • Enhance the design and appearance of downtown through historic preservation.
  • Create a unified, quality image and develop promotion strategies that bring people downtown.
  • Retain and strengthen existing downtown businesses, recruit appropriate new businesses, and develop appropriate economic restructuring strategies to sustain the economic vitality of the downtown.

Our latest news

10 FEB
Why Revitalize?
posted from Illinois Main Street

Why are downtowns, urban corridors, and neighborhood business districts important?

Commercial corridors, downtowns, and neighborhood business districts represent jobs and revenues—both vary from community to community, and sometimes represent as much as 30% of local jobs and revenue sources. Downtowns, in particular, define the local identity and reflect that community’s history and ‘sense of place.’

What are the benefits of revitalization?

  • Revitalization generates reinvestment. Private investment in businesses and commercial properties, and public investment in infrastructure create economic benefits for the entire district.
  • Revitalization supports business growth and job creation. Viable commercial districts provide places for entrepreneurs to succeed, increasing the viability and vitality of the commercial area.
  • Revitalization supports economic growth throughout the community. Downtowns and local districts project the community’s image to visitors and potential investors. Healthy commercial districts reflect a community that cares.
  • Revitalization provides local focus and stability. Economically strong commercial districts serves as an anchor for the community and represent consistent economic growth.

5 Jan
The Unexpected Place Where Americans Are Shopping
By Matt Wagner, National Main Street Center

The holiday season represents a critical period for American retailers, with the period accounting for nearly 20 percent of overall annual retail sales, according to the National Retail Institute. As such, shopping patterns during this time provide an important glimpse into the American shopping psyche. Judging from results of this year's shopping season, Americans have made a bold and very significant statement regarding shopping preferences. While much of that news has focused on the increase in cyber retailing, what has been missed is the growing shift within traditional "bricks and mortar" shopping patterns.

Figures released by the National Federation of Independent Businesses and American Express indicate that more than 95 million consumers shopped at small businesses on Small Business Saturday in 2015, an increase of 8 percent over 2014,with total spending reaching $16.2 billion (an increase of 14 percent from 2014). In sharp contrast Black Friday spending, according to retail research firm Shopper Trak dropped from $11.6 billion to $10.4 billion.

What is becoming increasingly obvious is that consumers are seeking places and spaces that offer more experiential and socially engaging opportunities. What they are looking for is embodied in the intersection between small business ownership and Main Streets across America. It's at this intersection that we find unique product offerings and the spirit of "mom and pop" ownership, rooted within an eclectic and often historic built environment.

Robert Putnam, the famed Harvard professor known for his work on civic engagement, characterized society's yearning for interaction as important to building as sense of community and social fabric. While competition for retail spending remains high, this holiday shopping season has provided a visible sign that this sense of community belonging and the opportunity to connect with people in interesting places and spaces is important to the overall shopping experience.

And that's a great victory for consumers, small businesses, and Main Street America.

Our Downtown Events

Other events in the downtown area

Our Honorable Members

  • Pekin Hospital

  • Pekin Insurance

Our Benefactors

  • First Pekin Savings Bank

  • Illinois American Water

  • Allegra Printing

Our Community Partners

  • Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce

  • Schwartz Electric & Sign Co.

  • Enviro-Safe Refrigerants

  • Tazewell County Resource Center


  • Illinis Central College

  • Mike's Not Just Ribs, Inc.

  • Tazewell Machine Works

  • Tazewell County Illinois

  • J&J Parks Concessions

  • Bard Optical

  • GroUp Gardening

Additional Links

  • City Of Pekin
  • Pekin Visitors Bureau
  • Pekin Chamber of Commerce
  • Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • National Trust For Historic Preservation
  • Enjoy Illinois