The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Geography - Tourism Planning and Development: M.S.


Geography and Planning


School of Public Affairs

First Advisor

Randal Baker

Second Advisor

Fred Hill

Third Advisor

Alvin Yu

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

tourism, non-urban, Holdingford, Minnesota, Main Street, business


The advancement of new technology, specific to transportation modes has altered the influence of some “Main Streets;” transitioning from “essential” to “optional” destinations. Thus, the prominence of “Main Streets” in non-urbanized cities, as a point of commerce and facilitator of social activities, has been in a state of flux (Southworth, 2005). Based on William H. Whyte’s research, The Social Life of Small Urban Space (1980), Project for Public Spaces (PPS) has launched a new campaign ‘Streets as Places.’ This program suggests that through design, the/a ‘street’ can exceed the primary function of mobility and be a catalyst for civic engagement. It is less clear whose responsibility it is to lead investments along the street, as these spaces are potentially utilized by tourists and patrons.

To examine this role, additional research was conducted to understand the perceived value of “Main Street” and the entity responsible for future investments in relation to tourism and aesthetics within the public space. The City of Holdingford served the geographic study area to better understand variations in the perspective of business owner/operators with the community on aesthetic investments along “Main Street.” This research assessed the perceived value of an existing non-urban “Main Street,” as a generator of commerce, specific to tourism by business owners/operators; determined the expectations of community business leaders to support investments within the shared, public spaces; and proposed recommendations towards the future development of “Main Street” as a tourism resource in non-urban communities.


I would like to thank Ernie Schmit, former Mayor of Holdingford, for having the foresight to see value in a small, rural Main Street nestled in the heart of Minnesota. Your goodwill and tireless work will be a legacy with lasting impact in the lives of Holdingford’s residents and business owners for generations to come. In addition, I would like to profusely thank Professor R. Baker for believing in a small-town girl searching for direction. Without your continued encouragement, this research would not have been possible.

I dedicate this work to my father John H. Binsfeld, PhD. You possessed the heart of a true entrepreneur, the gifts of an artist and the passion of an undying explorer. Dad, your impact in my life was beyond measure. Thank you for always believing in me and instilling the value of education.