Monday, January 23, 2023 - 04:00pm

The Main Street Initiative (MSI) officially reached 100 designated MSI communities last week with Sheyenne becoming the newest community.

“We are grateful for everyone across the state who has contributed to these ongoing efforts to create healthy, vibrant communities through the Main Street Initiative,” Gov. Doug Burgum said. “This milestone underscores the dedication and pride North Dakota residents have in building upon their communities’ strengths and unique attributes to attract and retain a skilled workforce.”

The MSI was introduced in 2016 by Burgum as a strategic initiative aimed at building healthy, vibrant communities with smart, efficient infrastructure to attract a 21st century workforce.

With a strong focus on community involvement, the initiative is structured around four pillars that work cohesively to assist communities of all sizes to reach their highest potential. The pillars: a 21st century workforce; smart efficient infrastructure; healthy, vibrant communities; and economic diversification, have been used throughout the years as inspiration for the initiative’s resources, grants and programs. 

“When Sheyenne was awarded grant money to apply to significant community projects, it encourages our volunteers to keep up the good work,” Patti Larson, a Sheyenne community volunteer said. “We really appreciate the support from the MSI staff.”

Communities that join the MSI receive direct assistance for community planning and development, tailored support from participating state agencies, streamlined access to resources and learning opportunities, and enhanced access to select state resources. To date, the MSI network consists of 81 collaborating partners and more than 4,000 community leaders, volunteers and advocates who work together to offer these incentives.

Additionally, designated MSI communities may receive extra benefits on specified state grants. Currently, the MSI has four active grant programs with revolving application windows. More than $1 million in grant funding has been awarded to communities across North Dakota since the initiative began.

“We have seen a tremendous amount of growth and success within our MSI communities throughout the years,” Commerce Community Services Director Maria Effertz said. “Every community has its own unique opportunities to create vibrancy and enhance the quality of life for current and future residents. The Main Street Initiative is the best avenue a community can take to access the resources, programs, network and education to build a better future.”

More information about the MSI can be found at