In 1980, the National Trust for Historic Preservation began a comprehensive downtown revitalization effort when it formed the National Main Street Center. In 1986, York was selected by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a designated Main Street community according to downtown revitalization standards established by the National Main Street Center. Main Street York, Inc. established itself as a private, nonprofit (501c6) organization governed by a board of directors who represent downtown businesses and downtown stakeholders. In 1998, Main Street York, Inc. and the downtown York community were recognized for their efforts in revitalizing downtown York with a Great American Main Street Award. Five of these awards are presented annually by the National Trust for Historic Preservation's National Main Street Center to outstanding downtown organizations.
In the fall of 1998 the York Business Improvement District Authority (YBIDA) was proposed and approved for the commercial district in the City of York.
In 1999, Main Street York entered into an agreement with the York Business Improvement District Authority (YBIDA) to oversee and manage the assessment and programming in the District.
In 2006, the board of directors for Main Street York Inc and the YBIDA board determined that due to the similar missions of the organizations a merger of the two entities would be the most effective use of time and resources. This merged entity would be called Downtown Inc. Although the two merged entities share the same board and mission their financials are kept separate due to funding sources and differing tax exemption determinations. The board of directors is tasked with oversight of the YBIDA and also the vitality of the charitable arm of Downtown Inc, formerly Main Street York Inc. Financial support for the organization is paid entirely through a joint funding effort between Downtown Inc’s charitable fundraising efforts and the YBIDA assessments collected annually from downtown property owners.
A constant for the Downtown Inc organization has been its commitment and work on the four points of the “Main Street" programs:
Promotion and Marketing
The organization enjoys unprecedented and much envied partnerships with both the public and private sectors. Downtown Inc’s organizational desire and willingness to remain open to change and challenges continues to serve the York community well.