Jefferson received the following state awards and special recognitions: Outstanding Image Activity was awarded to the Promotion Committee for their Main Street Minute promotion. Short videos of merchants in the Main Street District were shared on social media with much success. The Itty Bitty Nitty Gritty Award went to the Economic Vitality committee’s Java & Juice events where the public is invited to businesses each Friday morning to serve refreshments and tell about their business. An honorable mention for Total Building Rehabilitation was announced for the Kendall Building where Sensibly Chic is located. Jefferson sent in seven nominations for the thirteen categories of awards.
Roger Aegerter was honored as Jefferson Matters: Main Street’s Leadership Award for 2017 for his many hours spent helping the Tower View Team in their work with public art projects. A group of twenty-one people including board members, spouses, and guests of Jefferson Matters: Main Street represented the organization.
Main Street Iowa hosted the 32nd annual Main Street Iowa Awards celebration on Friday, April 13, 2018 at Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines. The program honored the efforts of those who work day in and day out to revitalize Iowa’s downtowns – the heart and soul of communities across the state.
Main Street Iowa has annually presented awards honoring outstanding accomplishments, activities and people making a difference in Main Street districts throughout the state. Projects large and small are recognized and serve as outstanding examples of what historic commercial district revitalization is all about.
This year, 18 projects were selected to be recognized from the 117 competitive nominations submitted. The honors were presented by Governor Kim Reynolds and James Engle, director of the Iowa Downtown Resource Center (IDRC).
“The Main Street Iowa program is a powerful catalyst for local revitalization and community investment,” said Governor Reynolds. “As I travel across the state, I see over and over that Main Streeters are passionate, innovative and creative. They’re also committed to making their downtowns – and our state – a stronger, more sustainable place to live, work and raise a family.”
The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) announced on April 5 that $1.8 million in Community Catalyst Building Remediation grants will be awarded to 18 Iowa communities for the remediation or redevelopment of underutilized buildings to stimulate economic growth in the community.
“These grants will be instrumental in the revitalization of communities statewide,” said IEDA Director Debi Durham. “Reinvesting in the redevelopment of buildings ultimately is about creating an environment where businesses and people can thrive.” IEDA Director Durham and representatives from IEDA made the announcement at an awards presentation during the Iowa Rural Development Summit being held in Grinnell. The grants will support local improvement projects such as façade upgrades, building rehabilitations and renovations. Cities are required to provide financial and/or in-kind resources to supplement these projects.
The Community Catalyst Building Remediation program is funded through an appropriation from the Iowa Legislature. This is the first year these grants are being made available via the IEDA and continued funding is based on annual availability.
Last fall, Iowa cities approved through a pre-application process were invited to apply. Of the 53 applications received, 18 received the maximum grant award of $100,000. Scoring criteria was based on project impact, appropriateness, funding/partnerships and incorporation of sustainability/smart growth principles. Per program rules, at least 40 percent of the grants were awarded to cities with populations of less than 1,500.
Jefferson’s application was for the Oddfellows Building on State Street that will be renovated for Pillar Technology. Chris Deal was the lead in working with the City on this grant application along with assistance from Jefferson Matters: Main Street director Peg Raney and president Jamie Daubendiek. Greene County Development Corporation president Sid Jones represented GCDC as they provided matching funds. The City of Jefferson made a commitment of $150,000 towards the renovation of this downtown building. City Administrator Mike Palmer, Building Official Nick Sorensen and City Council members Larry Teeples and Matt Wetrich represented the City at the awards ceremony.
Jefferson Matters: Main Street’s Economic Vitality committee is working with a consultant through Main Street Iowa to develop a recruitment team for businesses in our downtown. This could be new businesses or the expansion of existing businesses. The committee has developed a Top Prospects Survey that takes less than 3 minutes to complete and would like your input. Please follow this link and take the survey as soon as possible as the link will close on April 20. Our goal is to have 400 responses so feel free to share with others in your workplace or friends to complete. We appreciate your time as we work to draw businesses into our downtown!
Bicycling history of Greene County – and of RAGBRAI, too!
The series of sports-related programs that are preliminaries to the Smithsonian Institution’s traveling “Hometown Teams” exhibit, which the Greene County Historical Museum in Jefferson will house late in the summer, continues on Sunday afternoon, April 15, with a discussion of the history of bicycling in the county — and also the history of RAGBRAI.
Presenting in this free program at 2 p.m. at the museum will be John & Ces Brunow, of Jefferson, co-owners of All Ability Cycles, and special guest T.J. Juskiewicz, the director of RAGBRAI. Co-sponsors of the program and of the Smithsonian exhibit’s stay here are the Jefferson Matters Main Street program and the Greene County Historical Society.
If it seems like there’s a good deal of bicycling happening in Greene County now, there is.
And that will especially so this summer when RAGBRAI (that’s the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) pedals through the county on July 23-24. It will visit Scranton on July 23, overnight in Jefferson and then go on to Grand Junction and Dana the next day enroute to an overnight in Ames. This April 15 program will serve as a good primer for Greene Countians getting ready for RAGBRAI’s visit.
But cycling had a big start here as early as the 1890s, when there was a large men’s cycling club based in Jefferson and a “women’s auxiliary” cycling group, too. There were races, exhibitions and group rides to neighboring towns. Through the decades, there have been “Bicycle Days” promotions and parades in our towns.
For 41 years, Rippey has been a host town and turn-around point on “BRR” — that’s the “Bike Ride to Rippey” from Perry and back. And since 1997, Greene County has the northern 12 miles of one of the best-known and busiest recreational trails in the nation, the Raccoon River Valley Trail, with trailheads in Cooper, at Winkleman Switch and in Jefferson.
And, as we said, now here comes RAGBRAI in its 46th year — the oldest, longest and largest bicycle touring event in the world. All of the above is part of bicycling now being a full-grown industry in Iowa, with expenditures of about $350 million annually, according to latest economic data from a University of Northern Iowa study.
At the program this Sunday, the Brunows and Juskiewicz will be speaking, there will be displays of cycling memorabilia, there will be time for questions and free refreshments.
Customers will “hit a homerun” out of the park by shopping locally in the Jefferson Main Street District in early April. With baseball season kicking off, the promotion committee is working with our local businesses by offering one of Kevin Richard’s sports print as a prize. The public is asked to “walk the bases” to participating downtown businesses and look for the baseball sack to sign up for the drawing from April 1 – 15. On April 16, one lucky winner will be drawn to choose the sports print of their choice. These prints will be displayed in the Jefferson Herald office.
There is no purchase necessary to win, but the promotion committee encourages customers to cross homeplate with a score by supporting these participating businesses: The Printer’s Box, Don’s Ace Hardware, Fudge’s Flowers & Gifts, ShineOn designs, More Time, Royal Jewelers, Skeeter Creek Fabricators & Antiques, the Stitch, Sensibly Chic and Addie’s. A Hit a Homerun poster will be displayed at each business.
This promotion ties with the HomeTown Teams theme leading up to the Smithsonian Institution’s traveling exhibit to be housed in Jefferson from Aug. 11 – Sept. 23 at the Greene County Historical Museum.