Main Street Iowa

Revitalizing Downtown

Main Street Iowa Program

Main Street Logos

The Main Street Iowa program works with a select group of communities that successfully complete a competitive application process and commit to exceptionally high standards for downtown economic development. As a Main Street AmericaTM Coordinating Program, over 50 communities in Iowa are connected to a network of 40 programs across the country representing over 1,200 communities.

Utilizing the Main Street Approach, communities capitalize on the unique identity, assets and character of their historic commercial districts. The Main Street Approach consists of tightly integrated components making up a common-sense, strategy-driven framework that guides community-based downtown revitalization efforts. Locally developed strategies are implemented through comprehensive work in four broad areas, known as the Four Points: Economic Vitality, Organization, Promotion and Design.

Assistance from the Main Street Iowa team includes training workshops, architectural and design assistance, business assistance, and a number of other technical assistance opportunities.

What is Main Street?

Main Street is a Network

Main Street Iowa leads a powerful, grassroots network consisting of over 50 communities throughout Iowa.

Main Street is a Process

The Main Street Approach guides community-based downtown revitalization efforts.

Main Street is a Resource

Main Street Program participants receive a variety of training, leadership development and technical assistance opportunities.

Main Street Iowa Programs

In 1985, the Iowa Legislature adopted Main Street America’s Main Street Approach model, establishing Main Street Iowa (MSI) as a program of the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Today, MSI is recognized as one of the most successful state Main Street programs in the nation.

Main Street Iowa effectively helps Iowa communities use their historic downtowns and neighborhoods as a vehicle for economic development. Some highlights since inception of the Main Street Iowa program:

  • $1.1 billion invested in buildings in Main Street buildings, including $300 million in acquisition and over $800 million in building renovation.
  • Projects in Main Street districts generate an average of 623 Iowa jobs and over $19 million in paychecks.
  • For every $1 spent on the state program, nearly $72 in private investment has been spent on buildings in Main Street districts.
  • Read the full economic impact report. 
For more information, contact:

Michael Wagler

Iowa Downtown Resource Center Team:

Jim Engle

515.348.6180 (desk phone)
515.360.1674 (mobile)
Director - Iowa Downtown Resource Center

Robin Bostrom

515.348.6176 (desk phone)
515.201.1431 (mobile)
Business Specialist

Maia Fiala Jessen

515.348.6179 (desk phone)
515.240.1682 (mobile)
Design Specialist

Sarah Lembke

515.348.6181 (desk phone)
515.360.7239 (mobile)
Downtown Building Rehabilitation Specialist

Carol Lilly

515.348.6177 (desk phone)
515.559.4047 (mobile)
Downtown Development Specialist

Jim Thompson

515.348.6183 (desk phone)
515.240.8873 (mobile)
Business Specialist

Nick Sorensen

515.348.6182 (desk phone)
515.829.2436 (mobile)
Downtown Real Estate Specialist

Michael Wagler

515.348.6184 (desk phone)
515.745.4632 (mobile)
Main Street Iowa State Coordinator

Susan Watson

515.348.6185 (desk phone)
Downtown Services Specialist