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Main Street Iowa awards outstanding achievements in Marion
by Report submitted · April 20th, 2017

Main Street Iowa hosted the 31st annual Main Street Iowa Awards Celebration on Friday, April 7, 2017, at Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines. The program honored the efforts of those who work day in and day out in downtown revitalization in Iowa. The event was attended by approximately 550 individuals representing communities across the state.

Uptown Marion received the following state awards and special recognitions:

David Martin, with Martin Gardner Architecture, received the Leadership Award for outstanding efforts to make a positive impact on the local Uptown Main Street Program. Martin's architectural firm has restored hundreds of buildings throughout Iowa. His professional experience and positive attitude have made him an extremely valuable volunteer and community leader. He co-owns the historic First National Bank building and is working on his fourth Downtown Revitalization Project. As an Uptown Marion Advisory Board member and Design Committee co-chair, Dave has shared solutions for the issues face by other building owners over the years.

The Linn County Main Street Programs Regional Partnership received the award for Best Outstanding Partners which includes Central City Mainstreet, Czech Village-New Bohemia, Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group, and Uptown Marion. This award recognized the collaborative efforts of the four Linn County Main Streets through a joint marketing project developed through Linn County funding.

Brooke Prouty (Uptown Director), Jill Ackerman (Chamber President), and Karen Hoyt (Board Member) represented the Uptown Marion Main Street at the awards ceremony.

Main Street Iowa has annually presented awards honoring outstanding accomplishments, activities and people that are making a difference in Iowa's Main Street districts. Projects large and small are recognized and serve as outstanding examples of what historic commercial district revitalization is all about.

Fifteen projects and activities occurring in local Main Street communities were selected to be recognized from the 160 competitive nominations submitted. The honors were presented by Governor Terry E. Branstad, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds and Debi Durham, Director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA).

"The Main Street Iowa program has stood the test of time since its introduction in 1985. The program continues to bring businesses, jobs, investment and vitality to our state's communities, both big and small," stated Branstad. "The Main Street Approach works, and Main Street Iowa has been a national model because we are creative, we embrace change, we demand local initiative and action, while holding strong to our roots as an historic preservation program."

"Healthy, historic commercial districts are a key deciding factor for industrial and business recruitment," said Reynolds. "Since 1986, local Main Street programs have made a significant impact on Iowa's economy with 4,514 new businesses and a net gain of 13,402 jobs. More than 740 building projects have been reported with an investment in those rehabs of over $2 billion. Last year alone, the Main Street Iowa network surpassed 156,135 total documented hours of human capital invested into Iowa's downtown revitalization efforts. This demonstrates a tremendous commitment to Iowa's Main Streets."

During the event, 10 communities were recognized for reaching significant benchmarks based on private dollar investments made in the purchase and revitalization of properties within their respective commercial districts. Centerville and Lansing were recognized for reaching the $1 million benchmark in the last year and Ft. Madison was honored for $2 million in local investment. Ames and Guthrie Center were recognized for achieving the $5 million level. Des Moines 6th Avenue, Chariton, Corning, State Center, and Ottumwa all attained $10 million in local investment since being designated as local Main Street programs.

Four communities were recognized for significant anniversaries. Osceola was recognized for 20 years of participation as a designated Main Street community. Cedar Falls, Spencer, and West Des Moines were recognized for 30 year anniversaries.

Two special awards were presented as well. James Walsh received the Spirit of Main Street Award, an honor that recognizes the person, organization, community or project which best demonstrates the true meaning and spirit of "Main Street at Work."

For more information about Main Street Iowa and how all Iowa communities can access commercial revitalization assistance through the Iowa Downtown Resource Center, visit, e-mail or call 515.725.3051.
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