JM:MS Hosts After Hours Business Workshop

Jefferson Matters: Main Street Business Improvement Committee will host its first After Hours Business Workshop on Tuesday, March, 5 at the Elks Club in downtown Jefferson. The informal event will begin with a social hour at 5 p.m. with the workshop from 5:30 to 6:15 with a question-and-answer period to follow.

Speakers at the workshop will be Chris Henning, board president, and Alan Robinson, program director, of Jefferson Matters: Main Street. Henning will present and overview of the Main Street Four-Point program and future goals and plans of Jefferson Matters: Main Street. Robinson will discuss the role of the JM:MS Business Improvement Committee.

This will be the first of a series of quarterly After Hours Business Workshops presented by the

Business Improvement Committee in 2013. Each future workshop will feature a speaker addressing a topic pertinent to the four points of the Main Street program and to the business interests of the Jefferson downtown district.

The event is free and open to the public. There is a cash bar. Sponsor of this workshop is Shadran Industrial of Jefferson. For more information, contact Jefferson Matters: Main Street at 515-386-3585 or email or contact Bob Smith, Business Improvement Committee chair, at 515-370-3869 or email

Visioning Event Postponed to Tuesday, May 7

The Jefferson Matters: Main Street Visioning meeting scheduled for Thursday night, Feb. 21, at Jefferson City Hall has been postponed due to the impending snowstorm. The event has been rescheduled for Tuesday, May 7. For more information, call 515-386-3585 or go to

Help Determine Downtown Jefferson’s Future

Share your vision of downtown Jefferson in 2023 at a special Visioning event sponsored by Jefferson Matters: Main Street on Thursday, Feb. 21, on the second floor of City Hall, 220 North Chestnut Street. Help Jefferson Matters: decide the future course of this critical social and economic core of Jefferson and Greene County.

The Visioning event will get underway with a light supper at 5 p.m. The Visioning program follows from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Michael Wagler, state coordinator, Main Street Iowa, and Darlene Strachan, assistant state coordinator, Main Street Iowa will facilitate the program.

“Put simply, a vision tells us where we want to go,” said Chris Henning, board president, Jefferson Matters: Main Street. “Our vision statement will paint a picture of where we want to be in 10 years and be a tool for selling our potential outcomes to volunteers, investors, supporters and partners.”

“We are extending an open invitation to the business community, downtown building owners, civic groups, Greene County Chamber of Commerce and Development members, major employers, middle and high school students, and the general public.” said Henning. “This is an opportunity for all of us to make our mark on our future.”

Information gathered during the meeting will be used by Main Street Iowa staff to “wordsmith” a draft vision to be shared at a follow-up meeting with the community and Jefferson Matters: Main Street in April.

To reserve your space at the Visioning event, please RSVP at or send an email to Reservations can also be made by calling Alan Robinson, program director, at 515-386-3585.

Study Shows Main Street’s Economic Impact

Donovan Rypkema knows about the economic realities of small Iowa towns, especially if those towns are part of the Main Street Iowa program. And he has good news to share about their economic success.

According to a study conducted by Rypkema’s research firm, PlaceEconomics, the impact on Main Street communities in the state since the program was launched in 1986 has been 11,000 net new jobs created, 3,800 net new businesses, and $1.1 billion in private investment in the communities’ downtown districts.

Jefferson became a Main Street community in early 2012 and is now entering its first full calendar year as Jefferson Matters: Main Street. There are 49 Main Street communities in the state.

Rypkema’s study includes data collected by Main Street Iowa communities from 1986 to 2012. He looked even closer at the data by conducting case studies in six Main Street towns of varying population and geographic location: Bloomfield, Cedar Falls, Dubuque, Oskaloosa, Valley Junction and Woodbine.

He presented his findings at a Main Street Iowa workshop on Thursday morning, Jan. 31, in Historic Valley Junction, a Main Street community since 1987, and in Des Moines later that day to elected officials and state business leaders. JM:MS’s Chris Henning, board president, and Alan Robinson, program director, were at the workshop.

The overall numbers are impressive. “The estimated 2012 sales tax receipts from net new businesses in Main Street Communities was approximately 48 times the budget of the Main Street Iowa program,” said Rypkema.

His Main Street Iowa economic data further shows:

*Total sales tax collected from net new businesses has been $43 million a year.

*Nearly $72 has been invested back into the communities for every dollar required to run the program.

*The communities have enjoyed net new job growth in 25 of 26 years. Comparatively, the job growth in all the communities of Iowa occurred in only eight of the 26 years.

But Rypkema talks more than just facts and figures. He puts the information in language that Iowa taxpayers and local elected officials can understand. “These extra sales tax dollars here,” he said pointing at chart with an upward arrow, “translate into 2 new policemen hired or 2 ½ blocks of street paving in a community.”

Rypkema broke out his data to show the impact on cities with a population of over 5,000 and those under 5,000 to make the point that data from larger Main Street cities like Dubuque, Waterloo and Davenport, for example, did not skew the figures to counteract less impactful numbers among the smaller communities.

The average sale price of buildings in the 5,000 and over population cities was $59,448 in the 1990s and increased to $154,827 since 2000. The increase was just as dramatic in the towns—like Jefferson—with a population under 5,000. The average building sale price of $40,166 in the 1990s increased to $130,764 since 2000.

He also presented data on the impact of downtown business building rehabilitation in Iowa:

*Over the life of Main Street Iowa, an average of 623 jobs annually were created from building rehabilitation; in the last decade, the rate has been 1,000 jobs annually.

*Over the life of Main Street Iowa, an average of $23 million in income was generated each year from building rehabilitation; in the last decade, $35 million per year in income was generated.

*When Main Street began in Iowa, the income per job from building rehabilitation was just under $15,000. Today it is $36,000.

“This information shows the value of becoming a Main Street Iowa community,” said Chris Henning, JM:MS board president. “The study is so exciting! It affirms that our downtown improvements can have lasting impact on our community.”

To review the entire report, go to:

Community residents will have the opportunity to help define the success of the Main Street program in downtown Jefferson on Thursday, Feb. 21, when Jefferson Matters: Main Street will hold a Visioning Program from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at City Hall.  A light supper at 5 p.m. will precede the presentation. Participants will be asked to define how they see the JM:MS downtown district and organization in 10 years. The event will be facilitated by Main Street Iowa’s state coordinator, Michael Wagler, and assistant state coordinator, Darlene Strachan.

RSVP for the light supper and program by calling 515-386-3585 or sending an email to