Main Street Iowa Communities
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.
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. What sets Main Street America™ apart is the powerful network: the unique combination of grassroots dedication to comprehensively improving quality of life at the local level, integral support and expertise provided by the state Coordinating Program, and leadership and direction from Main Street America as a national partner. Main Street America is also a special mark of distinction. It is a seal, recognizing that participating programs, organizations, and communities are part of a national movement with a proven track record for celebrating community character, preserving local history, and generating impressive economic returns. Some highlights and characteristics of the Main Street Iowa program since its inception:
Downtowns play an important role in the economic and social fabric of the state of Iowa. The Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Iowa Downtown Resource Center helps communities learn about the importance of downtown development and assist local stakeholders in implementing revitalization strategies. In partnership with Main Street America, IEDA commissioned this study to assess and communicate the value of Iowa’s downtowns for residents across the state.