A ceremony was held at the State Capitol Thursday as Governor Branstad announced three communities that have been selected to join the Main Street Iowa program. They are Avoca, Guthrie Center, and Newton. The Main Street Iowa initiative was launched 27 years ago as part of a national effort to revitalize downtowns. Cities that are chosen for the program receive expert training and technical support in efforts to preserve historic buildings and improve their local economies.
Guthrie Center officials join Gov. Branstad for the Main Street IA announcement.
Ken Laughery, president of the Guthrie Center Revitalization Corporation, is also hoping the Main Street designation will eventually encourage more people to move to the town of just over 15-hundred (1,500) residents. “That’s one of the struggles we’ve faced over the years is our shrinking population,” Laughery said. “I think (Main Street) will give us guidance and show us some of the things that have been successful in other communities in the past.” Avoca’s population is similar to Guthrie Center.
City officials from Avoca also joined the Gov., Thursday for the event.
Avoca’s City Manager Clint Fichter said the Main Street program will help improve the Pottawattamie County town in a number of ways. “The first step for us is we’ve lacked a downtown business organization, so getting the organization up and running, working together better, the joint marketing, and all those things that come with this…and then, planning for the renovation of an historic theater and some other large preservation projects,” Fichter said. The addition of Avoca, Guthrie Center, and Newton brings the total number of Main Street communities in Iowa to 52.
(for more info. go to www.iowaeconomicdevelopment.com/MainStreetIowa)