Sonia Redmond receives award from Governor

Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group (CDG) volunteer Sonia Redmond and a joint marketing effort by Linn County Main Street programs were recognized by Main Street Iowa Friday.

                Main Street Iowa hosted the 31st annual Main Street Iowa Awards Celebration at Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines. About 550 people attended from communities across the state.

                Main Street Iowa has annually presented awards honoring outstanding accomplishments, activities and people that are making a difference in Iowa’s Main Street districts, said Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA). Projects large and small are recognized and serve as examples of what historic commercial district revitalization is all about.

               Fifteen projects and activities occurring in local Main Street communities were selected to be recognized from the 160 competitive nominations submitted. The honors were presented by Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Durham.

                CDG was recognized along with the Main Street programs in Central City, Marion and Czech Village/New Bohemia in Cedar Rapids with an Outstanding Partner award.

                The four Linn County Main Street programs worked together and with the Linn County Board of Supervisors for sustained funding. The supervisors also allocated $10,000 to the programs for a collaborative project.

                “We discussed several options, deciding on a joint public relations campaign,” said Jennifer Pruden, director of the Czech Village/New Bohemia Main Street District. “Each program has such a small marketing budget that we could not afford ad placement in major publications. With the $10,000 allocation we were able to develop a well-rounded print and digital campaign with ad placements in Midwest Living, Trip Advisor, Iowa Public Radio, GO Cedar Rapids visitor guide, and Corridor Business Journal Giving Guide.”

                Redmond received the Leadership Award, which recognizes inspirational leadership and volunteers who make significant contributions to the local Main Street programs’ downtown revitalization mission.

                Redmond has been volunteering for the CDG since 2010. She has served as board president, treasurer and chair of the business improvement committee.

                A Mount Vernon High School graduate, Redmond works for Mount Vernon Bank & Trust Co.

                “Sonia has put in countless volunteer hours with Main Street Iowa and the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group (CDG) working on myriad projects, including but not limited to: the city’s comprehensive plan, business improvement and outreach, and economic development efforts,” said Dave Ryan, president of Mount Vernon Bank. “Moreover, Sonia lives the life of a true community banker, consistently and dependably giving back to others in our community through a lifetime of service while asking for nothing in return.”

                Redmond has also chaired the Magical Night committee and led CDG’s Open4Business process, which resulted in two regional wins for Mount Vernon businesses.

                “I think of the projects she initiated or helped pushed forward, like Open4Business, and a charitable arm of the CDG,” said CDG board member Margaret Stevens. “I know the amount of sustained effort it takes to make them work.

                “Sonia has worked so hard and so long for this organization and this community. This is such a well-deserved honor.”