Seven New Main Street Communities Announced

Posted on June 26th, 2009 1:45 pm

On May 18, during a special ceremony held in Des Moines, Iowa Department of Economic Development Director Michael Tramontina announced the selection of seven Iowa communities for participation in the Main Street Iowa program. Ames, Colfax, Fort Madison, and Manning were chosen to participate in the traditional Main Street Iowa program. Commercial districts in Cedar Rapids (Czech Village/New Bohemia), Davenport (Hilltop Campus Village) and Des Moines (6th Avenue Corridor) will be part of Main Street Iowa’s new Urban Neighborhood District program. The addition of these new communities brings the total number of Main Street programs in Iowa to 47.

“Iowa’s historic main streets are the heart and soul of our communities,” said Director Tramontina. “Increasing the number of Main Street communities in Iowa is a top priority of the Culver/Judge Administration. We are committed to doing all that we can to keep Iowa’s downtowns strong and vibrant for business owners, workers, residents and visitors.

For more than 23 years, Main Street Iowa has been looked upon as one of the premier downtown revitalization programs in the nation. While Main Street Iowa has excelled in the traditional downtowns of designated communities, the Department recognizes that urban neighborhoods have significant commercial development and revitalization needs that could benefit from the program. Urban commercial districts have unique differences, but it is our belief that these same principles and practices can be utilized to develop a program of value to these districts.

Each of the selected communities has demonstrated strong partnerships, a high level of volunteerism, and a commitment to the revitalization of their commercial districts. “We are confident that they will thrive and grow for many years to come,” said Director Tramontina.

Becoming a designated Main Street Iowa community is no easy task. Community representatives must attend rigorous training sessions before even being eligible to apply. They must demonstrate support from local organizations, businesses, and lawmakers; funding and in-kind support must be secured and documented; strategic plans outlining short- and long-term goals must be in place; city resolutions and historic preservation ordinances must be passed and signed. Most importantly, community officials, business owners, and volunteers must agree to work together with the common goals of 1) preserving Iowa’s historic buildings and unique business districts, and 2) improving the local economy by adopting and following the Main Street Four Point Approach™ to commercial district revitalization.

Over the years, by working together with the state, Main Street Iowa communities have realized the benefits of more than 1.6 million hours of volunteer time committed to improving their city centers, a significantly increased job and business base, and millions of dollars in private investment to purchase, construct and rehabilitate downtown property.

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