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ABOUT CHINATOWN MAIN STREET

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WHAT IS CHINATOWN MAIN STREET?

Chinatown Main Street (CMS) is a local nonprofit organization committed to making Boston a thriving cultural and commercial center for all businesses and people. CMS was founded in 1995, and we are still operating to serve the community almost three decades later. 

 

Boston's Chinatown is the third largest Chinatown in the United States, home to a diverse community of Chinese, Vietnamese, African-American, White, and Hispanic businesses and people. With bustling shops and restaurants, Chinatown embraces a vibrant community at its core. 

 

CMS is one of the twenty Main Street Organizations in the City of Boston that operate to serve its people and businesses. Our mission is to beautify the district, recruit new businesses, preserve and strengthen existing businesses, and draw people into the district, maintaining safety and promoting cleanliness in the community.

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OUR MISSION

Chinatown Main Street (CMS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to making Boston's Chinatown district a thriving cultural and commercial center for businesses and people.  For visitors and residents alike, we elevate the Chinatown experience by beautifying, promoting, strengthening the community, and keeping the streets as clean, safe, and friendly as possible. We also host various food programs and events with entertainment, made possible with volunteers and fundraisers, creating a rich Chinatown experience for everyone.

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OUR HISTORY

In 1983, then Boston City Councilor Thomas M. Menino brought the idea of the Main Street program to Boston. ​

After over a decade of planning, in 1995, the newly elected mayor of Boston, Thomas Menino, encouraged the National Trust for Historic Preservation to introduce its National Main Street model to Boston. The result was Boston Main Streets: the first urban, multi-district Main Street program in the United States. Boston Main Streets now brings the technical knowledge of business district revitalization to twenty Boston business districts. Chinatown was one of the first—established in May of the same year.

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This is the first intensive urban use of this highly successful model for commercial district revitalization in the nation. In May of 1995, the program's first ten communities were selected in a citywide competition: Cleary Square in Hyde Park, Codman Square in Dorchester, Maverick Square in East Boston, Broadway in South Boston, Chinatown, Allston Village, Egleston Square in Jamaica Plain, Upham's Corner in Dorchester, Bowdoin Street/Geneva Avenue in Dorchester, and Dudley Square. Four more districts were selected in 1997, 4 in 1999, and 2 more in 2001.

Chinatown Main Street is responsible for beautifying the district, recruiting new businesses, retaining and strengthening existing businesses, and drawing people into the district to shop, maintain safety and promote cleanliness in the community. 

Using the National Trust for Historic Preservation Main Street model, the Main Street Four Points Approach is a unique preservation-based economic development tool that enables communities to revitalize downtown and neighborhood business districts. This comprehensive strategy addresses issues and problems that challenge traditional commercial districts by leveraging local assetshistorical, cultural, and architectural resources for local enterprises and community pride.

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Boston Main Streets Program uses a four-point approach to create and support neighborhood business districts.

DESIGN

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By enhancing the visual appeal of Chinatown’s streets and buildings, we present a safe and inviting atmosphere for people to explore Chinatown’s culture and local businesses.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

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We aim to stimulate a strong commercial district that creates a supportive environment for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and consumers.

ORGANIZATION

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As we build consensus between the many vested stakeholders throughout Chinatown, we ensure everyone mobilizes to work toward a shared vision for the future of our district.

PROMOTION

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We create a positive image of Chinatown to instill pride into the community and to encourage investment and commercial activity for its local businesses.