Frequently Asked Questions

What is the DREAM Initiative?

DREAM stands for Downtown Revitalization and Economic Assistance for Missouri, which embodies the essence of the initiative. Through the coordination of many state agencies - primarily the Missouri Development Finance Board, Missouri Department of Economic Development and the Missouri Housing Development Commission - the DREAM Initiative provides the planning and financial assistance communities need to establish grassroots downtown revitalization. The planning assistance takes the form of comprehensive information gathering and analysis that culminates into a strategic plan. Financial assistance includes developing local resources to leverage existing state grants and incentive programs to complete the action steps of the strategic plan.

Why should Missourians reinvest in downtown?

The key is the word “reinvest.” The original investment in any community’s downtown has already occurred. The DREAM Initiative recognizes that a substantial investment already exists in downtowns, and our role is to help bring that investment back to its highest productive use.

Why are downtowns important?

A downtown reflects the heritage of a community. It’s the “heart and soul” that provides a city or town with its sense of identity. In economic terms, there is also a lot to gain from a revitalized downtown. There is a proven economic tie between the health of downtown and the economic well-being of the rest of the community. Moreover, the overall viability of a community is greatly influenced by the vitality of its downtown.

What opportunities exist for DREAM communities?

DREAM communities have access to:

  • Professional planning, market studies, economic feasibility analysis and cost-benefit analysis
  • Professional, technical assistance on the formation of districts to support the effort
  • Public infrastructure financing programs
  • Façade renovation financing programs
  • Historic preservation financing
  • Housing financing
  • Peer networking and learning opportunities

What kind of community is the DREAM Initiative targeting?

DREAM serves small- to mid-sized Missouri communities that can demonstrate they have:

  • Developed or will develop a viable downtown redevelopment plan
  • A comprehensive approach to downtown revitalization rather than single projects
  • The capacity to undertake a multi-dimensional initiative
  • The ability to attract and maintain private investment

When will I see construction?

While the ultimate goal of the DREAM Initiative is the brick-and-mortar projects that transform a downtown’s landscape, it takes time to plan for and develop the appropriate projects. It is important to remember that it took years for the decline of most downtowns to take effect and subsequently, it will take time for revitalization efforts to reverse that trend. The DREAM Initiative will not stop or impede existing or planned projects. Instead, it helps DREAM communities develop a comprehensive plan for sustainable revitalization.

What does the DREAM Initiative mean for me as a downtown business or property owner?

As an interested downtown business owner, you are integral to the success of downtown and the DREAM Initiative efforts. Your involvement and participation will ensure that the planning efforts accurately address your needs. By increasing the vitality of downtown, DREAM increases the likelihood of success for your and other downtown businesses.

What is my role in the DREAM Initiative as a resident of downtown or the community?

Residents are truly the most important component determining the success of revitalization efforts. A successful downtown reflects the needs and desires of its residents. Downtown thrives through the support and patronage of residents. Residents can be involved in the DREAM Initiative through participation in planning efforts and by volunteering to participate in plan implementation.

How much money does our community get from the DREAM Initiative?

While there is going to be a substantial investment in downtown as a result of the DREAM Initiative, it does not take the form of a cash award. Investment in downtown will be stimulated through state and local government incentives and grants that complement private investment.

How long is the DREAM Initiative designation?

The DREAM Initiative is framed by a 3-year contract between the city and state. However, support for your downtown and community will not end with the DREAM Initiative. The DREAM Initiative program sponsors will remain involved and assist throughout the implementation of your strategic plan and revitalization of your downtown.

How will the community know what activities are going on from the DREAM Initiative activities?

The DREAM Initiative, partnered with the local organizations, will make every effort to keep you aware of activities. News releases, public informational meetings and local events are just a few of the ways the DREAM Initiative will help keep you informed.