Jefferson Matters: Main Street was named a winner in Community Development category and Dr. Jim Teusch of Jefferson was presented a Volunteer of the Year Award at the at the Main Street Iowa dinner and awards ceremony on Friday, May 17, at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in Des Moines.
Jefferson Matters: Main Street was one of just 19 of the 48 Main Street communities in Iowa to be honored as a category winner at the ceremony. The Iowa communities competed in categories representing the four points of the national Main Street program: Design, Economic Restructuring, Organization and Promotion.
Competitive nominations were submitted for 105 projects; 26 were selected for awards and six received honorable mention. Dubuque won three awards and Mount Pleasant and Ottumwa each won two. The awards were presented by Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, and Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IDEA).
The local Main Street organization was honored for the renovation of its office building at 110 West Lincoln Way in Jefferson. In its nomination for the award, JM:MS explained that the building was made available through an in-kind contribution from Hy-Vee Drugstore—a three-year lease with a rental charge of only $1 per month.
The nomination noted that “the 350-square-foot building fits well into the heart of Main Street’s desire to preserve. Originally a 5-cent hamburger shop built in the 1920s, it has served many a purpose since. In relatively recent times, the building was a historical museum for the famed Lincoln Highway.”
The interior renovation was helped by a $6,000 grant from the Greene County Community Foundation. Bids were let among area contractors and awarded to Harmer Construction and Durlam Electric. A $100 donation from the Lions Club helped with a facelift to the exterior. The outside walls were power washed and then a team of three JM:MS volunteers painted the building with special attention given to the building’s turrets and faux clay-tile roof. Total cost of the renovation was $18,000.
Teusch, a Jefferson dentist, was part of the painting crew. His nomination pointed out that he “tackled the task of painting stucco. In the name of historic preservation, he spent hours stripping old paint from windows and trim, and then applied the new. Many appreciate Jim’s conscientious work ethic, attention to detail, and vision for a job well done.” He was one of 47 individuals or couples selected by their community for outstanding dedication and volunteer service benefiting the local Main Street program.
In its 27-year history, Main Street Iowa has tracked over $1.2 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 two million hours of volunteer time has been logged collectively by local Main Street organizations.