The Main Street Approach
In 1986, Burlington became one of the first Main Street communities in Iowa. The Main Street program, created by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, encourages economic development within the context of historic preservation in ways appropriate to today's marketplace. Downtown Partners is a non-profit Main Street organization that is a division of the Greater Burlington Partnership.
As a Main Street organization, Downtown Partners undergoes an annual accreditation review by Main Street Iowa, the statewide coordinating organization under the Iowa Economic Development Authority. In turn, Main Street Iowa provides training, consulting, and design services to the downtown community.
The Main Street model uses what is known as the Four Point Approach (c) to downtown revitalization. Each Point is equally important:
The strategy is to identify common goals and get everyone to work toward them, rather than laboring as individual businesses, residents, non-profits, and government entities. Consisting of representatives of these various stakeholders, the Downtown Partners Board of Directors oversees the operations of the organization.
Fostering a positive image of the downtown encourages multiple uses and bolsters its importance to the whole community. The Marketing & Promotions committee supports revitalization by presenting special events, and undertaking image campaigns.
It is vital to enhance the physical attributes of downtown — historic buildings, streetscape elements, signage, plantings, and public art. The Downtown Partners Design committee focuses on improving the appearance of the city center.
Expanding the economic base through municipal, commercial, residential, and recreational investment strengthens the value of downtown. The Business Development committee of Downtown Partners works to encourage this.
If you have any questions about the Main Street approach or are interested in getting involved, contact Downtown Partners at 319-752-6365.