Main Street

Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant

The Challenge Grant program is funded through an appropriation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Since the first appropriation in 2002, this program has awarded a total of $4.8 million and has leveraged approximately $43.1 million in local investments. To learn more about the Jewell project or the Main Street program contact Sarah Thompson at Hamilton County S.E.E.D., 515-832-9575 or

JewellstreetThe Main Street approach to downtown revitalization was developed in 1977 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) in Washington, D.C. with the goal of economic development within the context of historic preservation. In 1985, the Iowa Legislature adopted the model and in 1991 Hamilton County became a pilot project for utilizing the model on a countywide basis.
The Four Point Approach is a trademarked and copyrighted program of the NTHP’s Main Street Center. The program is based upon the following four points:
Business Improvement — This element involves diversifying the downtown economy by identifying potential market niches, finding new uses for vacant or underused spaces and improving business practices.

— Utilizing appropriate design concepts, the visual quality of the downtown (buildings, signs, window displays, landscaping, and environment) is enhanced.

 — Each community has many groups of people who are interested in and are willing to work toward the goal of a revitalized downtown. The organizational element brings together the public sector, private groups and individual citizens, with coordination by a paid program manager, to work more effectively in the downtown.Promotion — By promoting the downtown in a positive manner, a community can begin to focus on downtown as a source of community pride, social activity and economic development potential.
Three Hamilton County communities are currently utilizing the Main Street Approach in their downtown revitalization efforts: Ellsworth, Jewell and Stratford. Over the course of the last ten years, however, each of Hamilton County’s nine communities have embraced the Approach.

Services Offered
Design Assistance, historic preservation incentives, referral services, coordinated promotional activities, business planning, targeted retail recruitment, trade area analysis and marketing strategies, national resource network, quarterly workshops with nationally recognized speakers, grant writing experience, marketing assistance, event/attraction advertising, low interest loan pool, and upper story renovation grants.

For more information call (515)832-9575