The National Trust for Historic Preservation developed the Main Street program through its National Main Street Center. In 1985, South Carolina joined the revitalization movement and established a statewide Main Street program. In 1986, Conway was chosen, along with 3 other cities- Aiken, Beaufort and Georgetown, as a founding program for Main Street SC, making Conway Main Street USA one of the oldest Main Street programs in the state.
A group of local citizens concerned about the economic health of downtown Conway founded Conway Main Street, U.S.A., a non-profit organization run by a Board of Directors and a staff Executive Director. The Main Street program was a comprehensive, incremental approach to regenerating the economic vitality of downtown commercial districts, built around a community’s unique heritage and attributes. Using local resources and initiative, the Main Street program helps communities develop strategies to stimulate long-term economic growth and pride in the community center — downtown. This is done through several platforms – promotions, physical improvements and economic restructuring.
In June 2011, Conway Main Street USA stepped out from the South Carolina Main Street Program to form Conway Downtown Alive. CDA utilizes the Main Street approach to continue promoting and preserving Downtown Conway.