Downtown Resources & Networking
Downtown Resource Center
Street Grid Main Street Iowa / Downtown Revitalization Resources
Street Grid is a living file library for Main Street and downtown revitalization organizations to streamline organizational efficiency, springboard planning efforts, and empower advocacy for this grassroots economic development engine. Street Grid also includes a collection of examples, samples and templates. Access the files at Street Grid™ Main Street Iowa Resources
Connecting with the Iowa Downtown Network
Each year, the Iowa Downtown Resource Center hosts two key in-person downtown networking events. The Iowa Downtown Conference is the premier statewide annual conference for professionals and volunteers involved with downtown revitalization in Iowa and neighboring states. The Downtown Conference is traditionally hosted the first week of August.
The Iowa Downtown Resource Center also hosts a series of Downtown Forums annually in four locations across the state. The forums offer downtown and community leaders’ communities the opportunity to collaborate about downtown ideas, successes, and challenges. Iowa Downtown Resource Center staff facilitate discussions relating to downtown revitalization and available grant programs and other resources.
Downtown Design Guide
The Iowa Downtown Resource Center and Main Street Iowa created the Downtown Design Guide to assist community stakeholders working on historic commercial district revitalization across the state. The guide can be a great tool for any community interested in preserving and maintaining the historic character of its physical assets while embracing diversity, quality design, sustainability practices and accessibility for all.
- Downtown Design Guide [PDF: 16.9MB]
Addressing Problem Properties in Downtown Districts
The appearance, use and safety of downtown districts impact community image, property values, future investments and ultimately, the long-term vitality of communities. A downtown cannot reach its full potential and thrive as a center for living, working and entertainment if nuisance buildings, improperly maintained lots and poor building uses are the focal point. Solutions come with local action. Community leaders must identify challenges and develop ideas, programs and procedures to improve those problem properties.
Self-Supported Municipal Improvement Districts
A partnership with the University of Iowa, this toolkit encompasses the process of SSMID creation from boundary and budget planning, to methods and process for community outreach, and how to evaluate the success of a SSMID program.
Property Tax Comparison Tool
The goal of this tool is to compare and analyze the value per acre and/or square footage and total property value among several types of properties, including those downtown and those owned by large industries.
Historic Theater Operations Best Practices
Main Street Iowa, a program of the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Iowa Downtown Resource Center, and the Community Land Use and Economics Group, LLC have assembled this collection of examples from theaters around the country as a resource for historic theaters in Iowa’s downtowns. It is our hope that this collection will continue to grow as the theaters participating in Main Street Iowa’s historic theater initiative and their partner Main Street programs add their experiences to it.
Creative Placemaking & Downtown
In partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, Better Block and the Iowa Arts Council, the Iowa Downtown Resource Center is supporting downtown creative placemaking through trainings, educational opportunities and technical resources.
- Creative Placemaking Manual
- Creative Placemaking & the Arts
- Creative Placemaking Manual Worksheet
- Creative Placemaking Community Survey Example
- Creative Placemaking Concept Board Example
- Creative Placemaking Concept Plan Example
Sustainability Case Studies
The Iowa Economic Development Authority has provided technical and financial assistance to communities to encourage sustainable community practices.
- Energy Efficiency Basics
- Energy Grants, Loans & Tax Incentives
- Utility Incentives
- Energy Audits & Assessment Tools
- Creating Fiscally Efficient & Sustainable Cities
- Energy Solutions for Food Businesses
- Renewable Energy for Historic Commercial Buildings