Several Hamilton County residents were on hand for the 22nd Annual Main Street Iowa awards held April 17 at the Downtown Des Moines Marriott. Locally, awards were received for projects in Jewell and Stratfod.
Of the more than 110 projects considered for awards this year, 23 were selected and 17 received honorable mentions.
Michael Tramontina, director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development, presented the awards during the celebration. "Iowa's historic main streets are the heart and soul of our communities," said IDED Director Michael Tramontina. "The enthusiasm, talent, and dedication of the local Main Street staff and volunteers are vital to keeping our downtowns thriving and healthy. Congratulations to the hard-working Iowans who are receiving awards this year."
At left Rick Young accepts the award for Best Promotion Utilizing a Partnership Effort for the Hot rod Power Tour from Iowa Department of Economic Development Director Mike Tramontina
The Jewell community brought home top honors in two categories: Best Faade Improvement over $10,000 and Best Promotion Utilizing a Partnership Effort. The South Hamilton Investment group, made up of several Jewell area residents who own the Jewell Farm & Home building, led the effort to improve the physical appearance of the Jewell Farm & Home and Junction on Main storefronts in 2008. The project included the removal of wood siding and windows and restoring the faade to the original 1930s look. The renovation was completed with the installation of awnings on both stores: a red and white striped awning for the farm store and a green and white striped awning for the gift shop.
The second winning nomination was for the Hot Rod Power Tour, coordinated by Hot Rod magazine. Dozens of partners worked together to bring the Hot Rod Power Tour to Jewell in June 2008. Jewell City Councilman Rick Young led the efforts to bring traffic to the downtown literally! Approximately 1000 cars and more than 2500 people lined the streets for the tour, three churches, five businesses and many organizations set up booths and residents welcomed the guests on a Thursday morning. Overall, the event resulted in great publicity and thousands of dollars spent in Hamilton County.
Stratford received an Honorable Mention in the Best Design Committee Project category for the entrance sign project. The project included the installation of two brick-pillared entrance signs on Highway 175 along with solar lighting. Aaron Bradley was on hand to accept the award on behalf of the Stratford Promotion/Design Committee and the City of Stratford.
The Iowa Legislature adopted the National Main Street Center's Four Point Approach to downtown revitalization by establishing Main Street Iowa within the Iowa Department of Economic Development in 1985. Main Street Iowa, the premier program of the Iowa Downtown Resource Center, currently provides services to 39 designated communities. For more than 20 years, this program and its communities have been looked upon as the "best of the best" in a national effort to revitalize downtowns across the country.
Visit www.iowalifechanging.com/community to learn more about each of the 41 communities participating in the Main Street Iowa program.