History

The Beginning: The Heart of Tyler Main Street Program is Tyler's only 501©3 non-profit organization solely dedicated to the economic, cultural and historic revitalization of downtown Tyler. We work in association with the City of Tyler, the Texas Main Street Program of the Texas Historical Commission and the National Main Street Center of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Heart of Tyler is a volunteer-driven, 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

In 1987, a group of citizens concerned about the decline of downtown Tyler formed a non-profit organization called Heart of Tyler, Inc. The organization worked with existing groups to plan, promote and coordinate mutual goals for downtown.

Main Street Program Designation: In 1990, the Texas Historical Commission offered a Main Street program for cities with populations over 50,000. Tyler became one of the first communities in Texas to receive the Urban Program designation. The Heart of Tyler Main Street Program officially began on Jan. 22, 1990, when Director Claire Squibb was hired.

Achievements: Over time, there have been many success stories to celebrate. Heart of Tyler has been the driving force behind restoration of the Cotton Belt Depot, lighting improvements in the district, being an integral force for development of the arts in Downtown Tyler, hosting the Texas Downtown Association conference, assisting dozens of property owners with design services, creation of events such as 6x6@110, the Downtown Tyler Wine Swirl, the award-winning Black Tie Bingo, Toast to Downtown Tyler and so much more.

Heart of Tyler continues to use the very successful Main Street Four Point Approach: we work in the four areas of Organization, Promotion, Economic Restructuring and Design in order to revitalize the downtown area.

The program continues stronger than ever. Volunteers contribute thousands of hours of professional and support services to the downtown revitalization effort each year. In addition to the many honors received for program performance and downtown projects, downtown reinvestment now tops well over $200 million since 2007.