Valley Junction/West Des Moines, Iowa Honored with 2012 Great American Main Street Award

National Trust for Historic Preservation Praises Excellence in Revitalization at Annual Conference

The National Trust for Historic Preservation announced today that Valley Junction/West Des Moines was chosen as a 2012 Great American Main Street Awards® (GAMSA) winner. Recognized as a leader in implementing the Main Street Four-Point Approach®, embracing sound historic preservation practices and building strategic partnerships, the Historic Valley Junction Foundation was honored at the Main Street Awards Ceremony during the National Main Streets Conference in Baltimore, Md.

The National Trust Main Street Center’s annual GAMSA awards recognize exceptional accomplishments in revitalizing the nation’s historic Main Street commercial districts. The Historic Valley Junction Foundation has succeeded in elevating the vitality and identity of a community that was challenged by construction of a massive indoor shopping mall in the early 1970s, a devastating flood in 1993, a poor public safety reputation and the opening of the state’s largest shopping center in 2004. Under its leadership, Valley Junction/West Des Moines has emerged as the home to the largest number of specialty stores in the metro area and a premier arts, entertainment and cultural district in the state.

“The Historic Valley Junction Foundation has demonstrated remarkable determination and vision since its founding,” says Doug Loescher, director of the National Trust Main Street Center. “Despite difficult odds, by drawing on the district’s strengths and key stakeholders, West Des Moines is now a safe, family friendly environment that pays tribute to its history, culture and heritage.”

The other four 2012 winners are: Bath, Me.; Culpeper, Va.; Jacksonville, Ill. and Washington, Mo. Winners are selected by a national jury composed of former award winners, community development professionals, governmental agency representatives who are active in community economic development and historic preservation. To learn about previous GAMSA winners, visit

GAMSA winners demonstrate exemplary achievement in the process of strengthening their downtowns and commercial districts based on the following selection criteria:

  • Active involvement of the public and private sectors;
  • Broad-based community support for the revitalization effort;
  • Quality of achievements over time;
  • Innovative solutions to significant problems;
  • Commitment to historic preservation;
  • Evolving track record of successful commercial district revitalization;
  • Comprehensive revitalization effort: activity in all four points of the Main Street Four-Point Approach® to commercial district revitalization;
  • Economic impact of the revitalization program; and
  • Successful small business development.

The Main Street Four-Point Approach® is a proven methodology for historic preservation-based economic development that was developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation more than 30 years ago and has been used in more than 2,000 communities throughout the U.S.



The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places., @SavingPlaces