What is Main Street?
The Main Street Approach is a copyrighted process of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Program has been used in Iowa since 1986 with a total of 56 communities having participated.
Mount Vernon was selected as a Main Street community on March 4, 2008 by the State of Iowa, after submitting a comprehensive application and presenting to a select board of reviewers. Read the Mount Vernon press release
Each community enters into a contract with the Department of Economic Development to use the Main Street process and agrees to:
- Employ a program director to coordinate the work of the organization
- Maintain an office and minimum budget for the program
- Have both financial and philosophical support from city government
- Representation at mandatory, quarterly training workshops on downtown development issues
The goal is to provide participating cities the training and technical assistance needed to make good planning decisions relative to downtown’s revitalization and future development.
What’s the benefit of volunteering?
There are many rewarding experiences and developmental opportunities available within the Main Street program, in addition to specific community activities and projects that you can be involved with. The benefits of volunteering are numerous:
- Make things happen in your community
- Meet new people with similar interests
- Learn new skills
- Satisfaction of being part of a greater good
- Having fun and sharing your talents with others
How do I know what to volunteer for?
The Main Street Program is a process-based approach using 4 pillars of development within a community:
- Promotion – advertising, promoting and marketing to attract new economic life and develop new vigor in the community
- Design – creating or preserving an attractive and sympathetic physical setting for residents and visitors
- Business Development – structuring economic opportunities through reuse of existing buildings and attracting new business opportunities to the area
- Organization – unifying and working towards common goals, developing a strong volunteer base, fund raising and communicating successes
As you can see, there is something for everyone. No matter what your experience, education or time commitment, volunteers are needed to build a better community and accomplish things that are worthwhile and valuable. If you want to be a community leader, use your talents for a greater good, become a committee member or are interested in hands on work with a dedicated group of volunteers, please consider giving your time.
Who do I contact?
Below is a list of co-chairs for each committee, as well as other information about Main Street that you may find helpful. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to become involved in your community and really make a difference in what is accomplished. Please click any of the names to send an email to that person, or fill out the Community Development Volunteer Sign-up Form. The Community Development group is open to any and all ideas, any and all volunteers, and looks forward to creating a meaningful and rewarding environment for you to participate in.
Contact: Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group
Main Street Iowa Resources and Information
Iowa Department of Economic Development – Main Street website
Latest News Releases from Main Street and IDED
National Main Street – National Trust for Historic Preservation website
Keep Iowa Beautiful – beautification and growing tourism in the state
Iowa Finance Authority – Main Street Mortgage Loan Program
Main Street Challenge Grant – yearly grants awarded to deserving communities
State Historical Society of Iowa – archives, education, historic sites, etc.
New Rules Project – a project of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance