Four New Virginia Main Street Communities Announced!

Excitingly, the towns of Cape Charles, Onancock, Tappahannock and Tazewell will be joining the Virginia Main Street (VMS) program / family! On September 16th, Governor Northam announced that these localities will become designated VMS communities, eager to revitalize their commercial districts and spur new growth!

Since 1985, the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has assisted localities engaged in downtown commercial district revitalization through the VMS program, utilizing the National Main Street Center’s® (NMSC) comprehensive, incremental Main Street Approach® to downtown revitalization, which is built around a community’s unique heritage, culture and historic building attributes. Including these newly designated program, the Commonwealth now has 30 designated VMS communities and 90 DHCD Commercial District Affiliates (CDA).

“For more than three decades, the Virginia Main Street program has worked to spur economic development through historic preservation. Downtowns are the heart and soul of small towns, and Virginia is committed to helping them recover from the pandemic and remain sustainable for generations to come.” – Governor Northam

Learn more about Virginia’s newly designated Main Street communities below:

Cape Charles Main Street

Cape Charles, located on the Chesapeake Bay in Northampton County near the tip of the Eastern Shore, continues to attract tourists, businesses and others through its sandy beaches, historic downtown and vibrant bayside. The local Main Street organization continues to support the business community, enhance residents’ quality of life and preserve the town’s character while enjoying support from public and private sectors.

Onancock Main Street Initiative

Onancock, a quaint waterfront town in Accomack County, sits on Onancock Creek, a former steamboat port that served as the main export point for agricultural crops for the Eastern Shore to Baltimore. Today, the town boasts Victorian architecture, galleries and restaurants, and the local Main Street program continues to focus on building a sustainable brand that celebrates the community’s rich history and assets.

Tappahannock Main Street

The town of Tappahannock, a historic and charming seaport on the Rappahannock River in Essex County, remains the commercial center of the region and within walking distance of a full-service marina. The community’s local Main Street program continues to tackle downtown revitalization and seek new and exciting growth opportunities.


The town of Tazewell, located in Southwest VA along the Clinch River, has begun to embrace its natural and cultural resources to help reposition its economy. As a popular destination along the Back of the Dragon, a local 501(c)(3) organization, Tazewell Today, seeks to leverage its unique position to increase retail traffic, restaurant activity and attract lodgers through developing its downtown.

“Using local resources and initiatives, Virginia Main Street helps communities develop strategies to stimulate long-term economic growth in downtowns across the Commonwealth. We look forward to seeing how these four communities take advantage of their Main Street designation.” – Brian Ball, Secretary of Commerce and Trade