Mission Statement: To promote, represent, and manage an environment to support Downtown Harlingen as a destination for economic, arts, cultural, and residential uses.
Vision Statement: Downtown Harlingen is a thriving
and vibrant area of economically viable and unique businesses with
activities that attract local citizens and visitors. An attractive
streetscape, renovated buildings of diverse architectural styles, and an
appealing mix of restaurants, shops, offices, and housing entices
residents and businesses to invest in the historic city center.
Downtown Harlingen, a Public Improvement District, was established
in 1989 to foster economic growth and redevelopment in Harlingen’s
central business district. Today more than 170 businesses or
organizations operate in Downtown Harlingen. The mix of retail and
service businesses, government and nonprofit offices, financial
institutions, and restaurants includes the city’s oldest, most
established businesses, national chains, and young entrepreneurs.
The downtown revitalization program has been a public/private
partnership since its beginning. In addition to funding provided by the
City, Downtown property owners have voted six times to tax themselves
through an annual assessment to generate revenue for improvements
including landscaping, signage, promotions, and storefront
enhancements. A seven-member Board of Directors appointed by the Mayor
and City Commission oversees the expenditures of assessment funds. The
Downtown Director, Redevelopment Specialist, and Maintenance Coordinator
coordinate daily operations with other city departments, volunteers,
property owners, and businesses managers.
Main Street Program
Economic growth, creation of new jobs, historic preservation, and
development of community pride are among the goals of the program.
Downtown Harlingen is affiliated with the National Main Street Center, a
subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the
Main Street Program administered by the Texas Historical Commission.
The Main Street Four-Point Approach that guides Downtown Harlingen is a
comprehensive revitalization strategy in which staff and volunteers work
to implement projects in four key areas:
- Design – Enhancing the downtown’s physical
appearance through building rehabilitation, storefront improvements,
signs, landscaping, murals, merchandising, and displays, partnering with
public and private sector groups in beautification and public
improvement projects, and educating people about the importance of
quality design, historic preservation, and good visual presentations.
- Economic Restructuring – Strengthening and
diversifying the downtown’s economic base by helping existing businesses
to grow and expand, property owners to convert unused or underutilized
buildings into productive commercial space, and downtown business people
to sharpen their competitiveness and merchandising skills.
- Promotion – Marketing the commercial district
through events, advertising, printed materials, and public relations to
attract customers, potential investors, new businesses, residents, and
- Organization – Building consensus and cooperation
among public and private groups and individuals through partnerships and
effective, ongoing management and advocacy for the downtown.