The LEDC was formed in 1998 by a group of Lansdowne residents and business owners with support from Lansdowne Borough Council out of concern for the decreasing vitality of Lansdowne’s Central Business District (CBD). At that time, most of the larger buildings in the CBD were vacant and in a state of decline. Storefront vacancies were at record high levels and there had not been any new commercial development in the CBD in decades. The LEDC was formed as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation and received its designation as a public charity from the Internal Revenue Service effective September 21, 1998.
The corporation was patterned after the model adopted by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, (DCED), for the Main Street Program. Initially the corporation was formed with a nine-member volunteer Board of Directors appointed by Lansdowne Borough Council. The Board of Directors was empowered to recruit new members and to replace retiring members. The LEDC is allowed a maximum number of fifteen Board members all of whom are volunteers and receive no compensation. All of the current and former board members are or were Lansdowne residents or Lansdowne businesses owners.
In 2005, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, (DCED), designated the LEDC as a Pennsylvania Main Street Program. The Main Street program is a nation-wide project of the National Trust for Historic Preservation that employs a comprehensive, community-led approach to revitalization. The Main Street platform is based on creating a comprehensive design for the downtown, promoting the community and businesses, encouraging economic activity through programs and events, ensuring economic stability and vitality with new businesses and industries, and maintaining a sustainable organization to help navigate changes in the community.
In March 2011, the LEDC embarked on the Lansdowne-Yeadon Elm Street Program. The Elm Street Program is a statewide DCED program that applies the Main Street revitalization framework to residential neighborhoods adjacent to commercial corridors. LEDC’s Elm Street Program serves a multi-municipal community situated in both Lansdowne and Yeadon Boroughs. Elm Street projects include park enhancements, home renovations, youth development, community service projects, neighborhood crime watch, and healthy communities programs.