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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. 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:

  • $2.6 billion invested in buildings in Main Street buildings
  • Catalyzed over 5,430 new and expanded businesses generating 16,392 new jobs.
  • Iowa’s Main Streets are the economic hub of their regions.
  • Main Street and downtown revitalization programs work.
  • Main Streets provide alternative housing stock and residential climate that serves and attracts a vital mix of residents.
  • Main Streets are economically resilient.
  • Housing brings vibrancy to a downtown. Iowa’s residential programs have helped restore residential building stock across the state.
  • Main Streets reflect the identify and legacy of their cities and provide a space for community connection for all.
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

Keegan Hall

515.348.6186 (desk phone)
515.829.2436 (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

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