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Newton Main Street

Newton Main Street is an independent, 501(c)3 nonprofit downtown revitalization organization. Newton Main Street’s downtown revitalization strategy focuses on economic development through historic preservation. In Newton, the work of the Main Street program is geographically confined to the Newton Main Street District, which covers most of the Newton downtown area (from West 4th Street to East 4th Street, and from South 2nd Avenue to North 3rd Avenue).

Newton became a Main Street community in the spring of 2014, after years of building the foundation for the program. Newton Main Street is one of many Main Street communities across the United States and one of 53 Main Street communities in Iowa. All Iowa Main Street communities are affiliated with Main Street Iowa, a division of the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Newton Main Street has earned National Main Street Center accreditation each year since its inception.

Newton Main Street’s entire budget consists of donations from individuals, businesses and civic entities, which fund program activities, administration and one full-time director. Otherwise, Newton Main Street is a volunteer-driven organization – volunteers comprise the board of directors and four Main Street committees, which have the responsibility of planning, organizing and completing Newton Main Street’s revitalization projects. That is to say, Newton Main Street is in every way a true community-based organization.

Newton Main Street’s revitalization strategy revolves around implementation of the Main Street four-point approach: economic restructuring, promotion, organization and design. The four-point approach stresses incremental progress toward reaching larger goals.

Economic restructuring attains an in-depth understanding of the Main Street District’s economic condition, works to retain and expand existing businesses in an effort to offer a balanced commercial mix, recruits new businesses the market can support, works to convert underused commercial space into economically productive property and builds a commercial district that responds to the needs of today’s consumers.

Promotion markets the Main Street District as the center of commerce, culture and community life for residents and visitors alike. The committee creates image development campaigns, retail promotions and special events with the main goal of bringing more people to the Main Street District.

Design improves the Main Street District’s physical elements and creates a safe, inviting environment for shoppers, workers and visitors. Activities include assisting with planning renovations of historic buildings and public space improvements, developing sensitive design management practices, educating business and property owners about design quality and emphasizing the economic impact of historic preservation.

Organization oversees internal program functions and keep stakeholders and the community informed and engaged. The committee raises money for activities and program administration, devises a communications strategy, budgets and manages program finances and recruits and retains volunteers.

Newton Main Street’s successful projects include: a $75,000.00 Challenge Grant awarded from Main Street Iowa to restore the former Maytag Hotel Ballroom; returned the farmers market to the downtown; received a $15,000.00 technical assistance grant to complete the Downtown Market Analysis project; worked with city staff to install a pocket park and sidewalk connection to the public library; held a commercial space open house, Second-Story Tour, Magnetic Main Street Fundraiser and a Shop Small Holiday retail promotion; hosted a downtown mini golf tournament, downtown trick-or-treat and Cash Mobs, to name just a few.

Newton Main Street will undoubtedly have much more in store for the Historic Downtown Main Street area in the coming future!

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