Uptown Marion received two top awards at the Main Street Iowa Development Awards program April 21 at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in Des Moines.
The awards recognized the Broad and Main building at 1107 Seventh Ave. and the Seventh Avenue streetscape and north plaza project.
Broad and Main received the award for Best Main Street Housing Project. The project revitalized an under-utilized strip mall into urban housing and commercial bay storefronts, realigned with Seventh Avenue. The housing units more than double the amount of housing in the Uptown District and are expected to have an economic impact of $1 million for the local economy. Honorees include Uptown Main Street, Marion Chamber of Commerce, City of Marion, Marion Economic Development Corp., Eagle View Partners, DCI Group, Shive-Hattery and Genesis Equities.
The Seventh Avenue streetscape and north plaza projects received the Main Street Comprehensive Placemaking Award. Already an award-winning project through the American Planning Association in Urban Design, the Uptown streetscape features gathering spaces for events and design with a nod to history. The project enhanced the above-ground features of the streetscape, but also worked with building owners on features such as upgraded water lines, fire suppression systems, and ADA accessibility. Honorees include Uptown Main Street, Marion Chamber of Commerce, City of Marion, Anderson Bogert, RDG Planning and Design and Rathje Construction.
The Main Street Iowa Development Awards recognized groups working to revitalize Iowa’s downtowns, honoring the accomplishments, activities and people making a difference in the state’s Main Street districts.
Uptown Marion Main Street submitted three other projects for award consideration: The Shops at West End, submitted as a Main Street business recruitment project; the ShoPIN Marion event, submitted as a Main Street business support project; and the Marion Community Peace Tree, submitted as a small-scale Main Street placemaking project.
Uptown Marion Main Street also nominated Marion assistant city engineer Jacob Hahn for the Uptown 2022 Main Street Leadership Award.
“Uptown Marion has been under construction for the past two years,” Uptown Marion director Brooke Prouty said. “This project would not have been possible without the leadership, attention to detail, and professionalism exhibited by Jacob Hahn as lead engineer on the project. Jacob made it a priority to inform and involve all partners, working closely with the Main Street program, building and business owners to make it a success.”
Unable to attend the event, a cardboard cutout of Jacob accepted the award from Debi Durham, executive director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) and Iowa Finance Authority, and Main Street Iowa state coordinator Michael Wagler.
“The Main Street Iowa program is a powerful economic development tool that has stood the test of time since its introduction in 1985,” Ms. Durham said. “We continue to see significant growth in businesses, jobs, and investment in communities of all sizes because of the program. As a result, these districts serve as inspiring examples of what’s possible for Iowa’s downtowns.”
“Main Street is grassroots economic development,” Mr. Wagler added. “It is inspiring to witness the impactful work of local Main Street program staff, volunteers, and community partners.”
A full list of award winners is available at the Iowa Economic Development Authority website.