Story City was recognized for several awards and accomplishments March 8 as Main Street Iowa hosted its 33rd-annual awards celebration at the Scottish Rite Consistory in Des Moines. The program honored the efforts of those who work to revitalize Iowa’s downtowns — the heart and soul of communities across the state. The awards honor outstanding accomplishments, activities and people making a difference in the state’s Main Street districts.


Story City’s Main Street, also known as the Story City Greater Chamber Connection, was recognized for reaching the benchmark of $10 million of private investment in its district. The recognition was based on private dollars invested in commercial district rehabilitation and property acquisition in the designated Main Street districts since the programs’ inception.


Only Des Moines 6th Avenue Corridor and Marion were recognized for higher million-dollar benchmarks, with $20 million each. Centerville and Jefferson had each reached the $5 million mark; Colfax, $3 million; and Newton $1 million.


Carl Hermanson and Denny Michel were honored with posthumous Main Street Hero Awards.


Matt and Kim Sporleder and family received a Leadership Award, an honor that recognizes inspirational leadership and volunteers who make significant contributions to the local Main Street program.


The Story City GCC was first designated in 2000 and is led by Jay Wilson as its executive director.


“Main Street Iowa has stood the test of time since its introduction in 1985,” said Iowa Finance Authority Director Debi Durham. “We continue to see significant growth in the amount of business, jobs and investment in communities of all sizes due to the program. As a result, these districts serve as inspiring examples of what’s possible for Iowa’s downtowns.”


In 1985, the Iowa Legislature adopted the National Main Street Center’s Four Point Approach to district revitalization by establishing Main Street Iowa within the agency that is now the IEDA. Since inception, the state program and its communities have been considered examples of excellence in the national effort to revitalize historic commercial districts across the country.


“The Main Street Approach works. Main Street Iowa has been a national model because we are creative, we embrace change, and we demand local initiative and action,” Durham said.


Since 1986, local Main Street programs have made a significant impact on Iowa’s economy, resulting in:


• The inception of 4,805 new businesses and a net gain of 14,938 jobs;


• More than 12,000 building projects reported, totaling a private investment of more than $1.96 billion; and


• More than 3 million hours of human capital equating to greater than $81 million in time and talents according to the Independent Sector’s estimated value of a volunteer hour.