Main Street Iowa hosted the annual Main Street Iowa Development Awards celebration recently, which honors the efforts of those who work tirelessly to revitalize Iowa’s downtowns and to make a difference in the state’s Main Street districts.
This year, 14 projects were recognized and 47 leadership award recipients were honored for significant leadership and volunteer contributions to their local Main Street programs. Debi Durham, executive director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) and Iowa Finance Authority, and Michael Wagler, Main Street Iowa state coordinator, presented the honors.
“The Main Street Iowa program is a powerful economic development tool that has stood the test of time since its introduction in 1985,” Durham said. “We continue to see significant growth in businesses, jobs, and investment in communities of all sizes because of the program. As a result, these districts serve as inspiring examples of what’s possible for Iowa’s downtowns.”
The Spirit of Main Street Award was also presented to Peg Raney, president of the Why Not Us development group in Jefferson. Raney brought together 71 women to invest in the rehabilitation of a historic downtown building. The Spirit of Main Street Award is a special recognition presented to an individual or group who demonstrate the spirit of Main Street at work throughout Iowa.
“Main Street is grassroots economic development,” Wagler said. “It is inspiring to witness the impactful work of local Main Street program staff, volunteers, and community partners.”
During the event, 10 communities were recognized for reaching new milestones in the amount of private investment in their commercial districts:
- $1 million benchmark: Clarence
- $3 million benchmark: Avoca and Sac City
- $5 million benchmark: Lansing
- $10 million benchmark: Centerville, Elkader, Jefferson, and West Union
- $20 million benchmark: Washington
- $50 million benchmark: Charles City
In 1985, the Iowa Legislature adopted Main Street America’s Four Point Approach® to district revitalization by establishing Main Street Iowa within the agency that is now the IEDA. Since then, the Main Street Iowa program has had a significant impact on Iowa’s economy, including more than $2.6 billion in private investment, more than 3.7 million volunteer hours, more than 5,300 new businesses, and more than 16,000 jobs.
For more information about Main Street Iowa and how all Iowa communities can access commercial revitalization assistance through the Iowa Downtown Resource Center, visit iowaeda.com/downtown-resource-center/, email email@example.com or call 515.348.6184.