Main Street Iowa program successful at spurring growth in Iowa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Main Street Iowa program successful at spurring growth in communities

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According to a study recently released by the Iowa Economic Development Authority, more than $1 billion has been invested in the state so that areas like First Street in Mount Vernon can be successful. According to a study recently released by the Iowa Economic Development Authority, more than $1 billion has been invested in the state so that areas like First Street in Mount Vernon can be successful.
MT. VERNON (KWWL) -

When you walk through Mount Vernon, it's almost like touring a movie set -- according to people Joe Jennison talks to.

"I hear it every day in my job," said Jennison, Main Street and Marketing Director for the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group. "'This is such a cute town. What a great town. What an interesting town. What interesting people. What a great place to come and shop and eat.'"

Part of what helps keep the town thriving, he said, is the Main Street Iowa program.

According to a study recently released by the Iowa Economic Development Authority, more than $1 billion has been invested in the state so that areas like First Street in Mount Vernon can be successful.

"Main Street, in a nutshell, is economic development through historic preservation," said Jennison. "So we are a town that believes in our history."

It's something residents and business owners also believe in.

"We're probably the best Main Street in Iowa," said Paul Jerabek, owner of Chameleon's Pub & Grub. "We've got four or five festivals a year where the street closes down that bring people into the town."

Paul Jerabek is working to renovate his business to its original appearance. It's partially made possible by a Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant.

"Look at the downtown," said Jerabek. "The downtown is beautiful. It was a terrible eyesore."

According to the new study, for every $1 the state spends on Main Street Iowa, there's $73 worth of private investments.

"This is a wonderful town without Main Street," said Jennison. "With Main Street it has allowed us to move further along."

According to the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the new businesses and business expansions in Main Street Iowa districts generated $43 million in sales tax for the state last year and brought in nearly $11 million in property tax revenue each year.

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