Main Street Iowa Design Team Visits Jefferson

Jefferson’s historical downtown buildings took center stage on Tuesday, Nov. 27. Members of the Jefferson Matters: Main Street Design Committee joined Main Street Iowa’s design consultant, Tim Reinders, and design assistant, Katelyn Rutledge, as they met with three downtown building owners to review requests for Main Street Iowa design assistance.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be able to start providing professional design services to our district’s building and business owners,” said Reagan Osborne, Design Committee chair.

Equipped with a ladder and flashlights, the Design Committee joined Reinders and Rutledge as they assessed the requests and removed a suspended ceiling panel to investigate the cause of a downdraft, poked around a neon sign and metal storefront, and toured a rehab in progress. Reinders and Rutledge will follow up with professional sketches to help the owners visualize their projects.

Mike Palmer, city administrator, and Mike Wright, building inspector, reviewed the recent stabilization of 111 East Lincoln Way and suggested that the city, Main Street Iowa and Jefferson Matters: Main Street host a series of workshops to assist building owners facing difficult situations. Technical assistance of this kind is one of the benefits of being designated a Main Street Community.

Jefferson Matters: Main Street ‘Firing On All Cylinders’

Jefferson Matters: Main Street is moving forward in its “officially” opened office, with more members now serving on its board of directors and committees. Office hours have been established and the program is receiving ongoing support from Main Street Iowa.

“We are firing on all cylinders now with the new office open daily under the guidance of our program director and with our committees meeting regularly,” said Chris Henning, president, Jefferson Matters: Main Street board of directors. “Our board has done a magnificent job of reaching out to the community to bring talented and committed Jefferson residents to our organization.”

A milestone was marked last month when renovation project of the JM:MS office at 110 West Lincoln Way was completed. A come-and-go, open house “shower” with guests bringing office supply gifts was held Sunday, Oct. 28. The following day, Monday, Oct. 29, the Greene County Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors held an official ribbon cutting as they welcomed JM:MS to the local business community.

Office hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each weekday. Alan Robinson, program director, is available to meet with area business owners, building owners and residents with questions about the JM:MS program during those hours. He is available by appointment at other times. He can be reached by phone at 515-386-3585 or email at director@jeffersonmatters.org. He will be making visits to businesses in the downtown district each afternoon from 2 to 4 p.m.

NEW BOARD MEMBERS

Jefferson Matters: Main Street is now supported by a board of 15 members. New members are Bob Smith, Deb McGinn, Pete Russell and Karen Younie. In addition to Henning, executive committee officers are Jamie Daubendiek, vice president; Carol Ahrenholtz, secretary; Amy Milligan, treasurer; and Nancy Teusch, past president. Other board members are Reagan Osborne, Jody Lang, Craig Berry, Mike Palmer, Ben Yoder (ex-officio) and Michael Cooley (ex-officio).

The four JM:MS committees are now up and running with a chair designated for each: Organization—Jody Lang and Lisa Turner (co-chairs); Design—Reagan Osborne, chair; Promotion—Pete Russell; and Business Improvement—Bob Smith. New members are being added to the roster of each committee as the program moves forward.

PROGRESS VISIT

Main Street Iowa conducted a day-long Progress Visit with the JM:MS board, staff and committee members on Oct. 24. Darlene Strachan, assistant state coordinator, Main Street Iowa, spent the day in Jefferson meeting with committee members, representatives of the city of Jefferson and the program director. She sat in on the JM:MS regular board meeting and outlined for the group the process of next year’s two-day Progress Visit from Main Street Iowa, which is scheduled for October 2013. Strachan’s role throughout the day was to assess the progress of the JM:MS program and provide feedback for improving and strengthening the program.

Jefferson Selected as Main Street Iowa Community

A group of 27 Jefferson Matters supporters attended the announcement ceremony Tuesday February 7, 2012

February 7, 2012 (Des Moines, IA) – Governor Terry Branstad today announced that Jefferson was one of three Iowa communities selected to join the Main Street Iowa program, along with Chariton and Lansing.  The announcement was made during a special ceremony held at the Iowa State Capitol.

“Iowa’s historic main streets are the heart and soul of our communities,” said Governor Branstad.  “We will continue to do whatever we can to keep Iowa’s historic commercial districts strong and vibrant for business owners, workers, residents and visitors.  I am pleased to welcome each of these communities into the Main Street family, and wish them much success in the future.”

For more than 25 years, the Main Street Iowa program and its communities have been looked upon as the “best of the best” in a national effort to revitalize main streets across the country.  The addition of these new communities brings the number of participating Main Street communities in Iowa to 48.

“In their applications and presentations, the selected communities demonstrated strong partnerships, a high level of volunteerism, and a commitment to the revitalization of their main street districts.  We are confident that these three cities will thrive and grow for many years to come,” said Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

Becoming a designated Main Street Iowa community is no easy task.  Community representatives must attend rigorous training sessions before even being eligible to apply.  They must demonstrate support from local organizations, businesses, and lawmakers; funding and in-kind support must be secured and documented; strategic plans outlining short- and long-term goals must be in place; and city resolutions and historic preservation ordinances must be passed and signed.  Most importantly, community officials, business owners, and volunteers must agree to work together with the common goals of preserving Iowa’s historic buildings and unique commercial business districts, and improving the local economy by adopting and following the Main Street Four Point Approach® to historic commercial district revitalization.

While it may be challenging to become a Main Street community, designated communities reap many benefits.  During the first three years of the program, each community receives 40 days of on-site training and technical assistance from Main Street Iowa, National Main Street Center staff and private consultants, as well as 30 days of training for volunteers and local staff, resulting in a state investment of $100,000.  Mature Main Street communities each receive continuing technical assistance and training valued at $10,000 annually.

Over the years, by working together with the state, Main Street Iowa communities have realized the benefits of more than two million hours of volunteer time committed to improving their main street districts, a significantly increased job and business base, and over a billion dollars in private investment to purchase, construct and rehabilitate main street property.

For more information, visit www.iowaeconomicdevelopment.com  or call 515.725.3058.

Local Contact: Chris Henning 515.386.2436