Main Street Mt. Pleasant Receives Special Signature Project of the Year Award

Written by Theresa Rose on May 2, 2015

Main Street Iowa Recognizes Outstanding Achievements
Award Winning Projects and Volunteers Honored

Main Street Iowa hosted the annual Main Street Iowa Awards celebration on Friday, May 1, 2015 at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center (Iowa Events Center) in downtown Des Moines.As a highlight of the evening, Mount Pleasant was presented the Signature Project of the Year award honoring their Union Block Building revitalization project. This special award honors a project that rises above the traditional award categories in impact and significance. This project not only saved a landmark structure on Preservation Iowa’s Most Endangered List, but also served as a catalyst for additional business development initiatives downtown. The event to recognize local Main Street projects, activities and volunteers was attended by approximately 500 individuals representing communities across the state. Competitive nominations were submitted for 107 projects and activities within the five categories of design, economic restructuring, organization, promotion and overall program. Twenty-one projects received winner awards recognition and nine received honorable mention.

The honors were presented by Governor Terry E. Branstad and Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA). In addition to the competitive nominations, individuals, couples or co-chairs representing the 52 Main Street programs were recognized for their outstanding dedication and volunteer service. The program directors accompanied their volunteers on stage as they received their certificates.

“In my 1985 Condition of the State address to the Iowa Legislature, I proposed finding the funds to create Main Street Iowa,” stated Governor Branstad. “We knew from the very beginning that Main Street was not a quick-fix solution, but rather an incremental approach to fostering positive change. In my travels across the state, I have seen the program at work in small towns, mid–size cities, urban centers and neighborhood commercial districts. It has had far greater impact than we ever could have imagined in 1985.”

In its 29-year history, Main Street Iowa has tracked over $1.4 billion in private investment in the purchase, construction and rehabilitation of property in participating commercial districts, significantly increasing the state’s job and business base. In addition, over 2.5 million hours of volunteer time have been logged collectively by local main street organizations.

“Healthy historic commercial districts are a key deciding factor for industrial and business recruitment. Main Street Iowa was brings jobs, investment and new businesses to our downtowns and historic commercial neighborhoods,” said Durham. “Taxpayers are certainly getting their money’s worth. In FY14, for every dollar the state of Iowa has invested in operating the state Main Street program, the private sector in those communities has invested $93 into building improvements and acquisitions.”

During the event, six 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. Manning was recognized for reaching the $1 million benchmark in the last year and Colfax was honored for $2 million in local investment. Chariton and Marion were recognized for achieving the $5 million level. Mount Pleasant attained $10 million in local investment since being designated a local Main Street program, and West Des Moines’ Historic Valley Junction reached the $20 million benchmark. The communities of Bloomfield, Greenfield and Le Mars received recognition for their 20 years of participation as designated Main Street communities and Dubuque for 30 years. The communities of Chariton, Jefferson and Lansing were recognized for the successful completion of Main Street’s three-year start-up phase in commercial district revitalization.

As a highlight of the evening, Mount Pleasant was presented the Signature Project of the Year award honoring their Union Block Building revitalization project. This special award honors a project that rises above the traditional award categories in impact and significance. This project not only saved a landmark structure on Preservation Iowa’s Most Endangered List, but also served as a catalyst for additional business development initiatives downtown.

In 1985, the Iowa Legislature adopted the National Main Street Center’s Four Point Approach® to district revitalization by establishing Main Street Iowa within the agency that is now the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Since its inception, the state program and its communities have been considered examples of excellence in the national effort to revitalize historic commercial districts across the country.