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The Main Street Four Point Approach™

  1. DESIGN supports a community’s transformation by enhancing the physical and visual assets that set the commercial district apart.

  2. ORGANIZATION involves creating a strong foundation for a sustainable revitalization effort, including cultivating partnerships, community involvement, and resources for the district.

  3. PROMOTION positions the downtown or commercial district as the center of the community and hub of economic activity, while creating a positive image that showcases a community’s unique characteristics.

  4. ECONOMIC VITALITY focuses on capital, incentives, and other economic and financial tools to assist new and existing businesses, catalyze property development, and create a supportive environment for entrepreneurs and innovators that drive local economies.


Main Street Iowa

In 1985, the Iowa Legislature adopted Main Street America’s Main Street Approach model, establishing Main Street Iowa (MSI) as a program of the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Today, MSI is recognized as one of the most successful state Main Street programs in the nation. Main Street Iowa effectively helps Iowa communities use their historic downtowns and neighborhoods as a vehicle for economic development. 

Dubuque Main Street

Where Dubuque started.

Dubuque Main Street (DMS) is celebrated Nationally as the longest-running urban Main Street Program in the country.  Dubuque Main Street is one of more than 1,000 community programs which were established in the late 1980’s as a collaborative effort to revitalize the identities of downtown USA.

DMS relies on private investments for approximately 75 percent of its budget for nine districts that cover 90 blocks. “Dubuque has merged the concepts of smart cities, downtown revitalization and historic preservation to become perhaps the best small-city example of comprehensive sustainable development in the nation, as well as a Main Street program with unparalled success. Dubuque did get it wrong on one point. Its ambition was to become a national model for a sustainable city. Instead, it has become an international example.” stated the Economic Impact of Main Street Iowa, 1986-2012 report from Place Economics.

DMS has become a model urban Main Street program that is often referenced for preservation, innovative commercial projects, and integrating the arts in all development projects.

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