Main Street Iowa

Des Moines, Iowa

Award Type: Honor Award

All across America, traditional Main Streets are being revitalized but nowhere more successfully than in the Hawkeye State. Since 1986, the Iowa Department of Economic Development’s Main Street Iowa program has partnered with 64 cities and towns, rehabbing 8,000 historic buildings, creating 10,000 jobs and investing $971 million. 

From the U.S. Congress to the state capitol to the bank manager’s office, Main Street Iowa has forged strong bonds with decision makers at all levels.  These relationships, coupled with the formidable advocacy of Iowa’s Main Street communities, have resulted in the establishment of programs that – among other things – are keeping small businesses thriving and encouraging sustainability projects that make Main Street greener.
Main Street Iowa’s communities have benefitted from both state and federal appropriations to the program. Most recently, the program received a huge vote of confidence from the Iowa Legislature with a special $14 million appropriation in 2010/2011 – the largest appropriation in the program’s 24-year history.  As a result, more than $84 million has been invested in Main Street Iowa communities through a combination of state funding, federal HUD Funds and local public/private investment.

“Main Street Iowa has put its stamp all over the state, showing citizens how to revitalize their downtowns and re-energize their communities,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  “A preservation powerhouse and a model for other organizations, Main Street Iowa is making a real difference in the economic health and livability of America’s heartland.”