Main Street Lansing receives accreditation for second year following annual review

by Susan Cantine-Maxson

Wednesday, December 3, Terry Poe Buschkamp, a Main Street District Specialist, and Jim Engle, Director of the Iowa Downtown Resource Center of the Iowa Economic Development Authority from Des Moines, presented the Main Street Lansing organization with its second  straight accreditation as a Main Street Program.
Main Street Lansing was originally accredited in 2013. A report compiled by Buschkamp and Engle culminated a three-day annual review of the program. During this review they met with several board members and volunteers to assess the progress of the group in meeting its goals and the 11 criteria points of the Main Street organization.
Main Street is a program which emphasizes economic development within the context of historical preservation, a trademarked process owned by the National Main Street Center. This group is a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. There are 52 designated areas in Iowa, including one county, several neighborhoods and numerous downtown areas. Admission to the Main Street group is a competitive process and not all groups/towns that apply are admitted. The Main Street program seeks to educate and supply resources to its members so that economic development and historical preservation can complement each other.
The report compiled by Buschkamp and Engle stated that the Main Street Lansing organization had successfully met all 11 criteria, such as public/private sector involvement, historic preservation, vision & mission statements, ongoing training and public support for revitalizing the business district. The one criteria which needs to be more fully developed during the next year is the establishment of action plans for each of the four primary committees:  organization, promotion, business opportunity and design. Action plans with measurable objectives will assist the four committees in focusing and attaining their goals. Director Engle and other staff will return in February to work with the committees to assist them in developing these action plans.
Engle and Buschkamp also presented observations and recommendations to the group. They noted many positive aspects of the program, especially the high level of passion and dedication from the volunteers and board members. Board members for the group include Bruce Palmborg, President; Marty Brennan, Vice-President/Treasurer; Dave Darling, Member/City Council representative; Dave Janzen; Jim Kerndt; Joe Papp; Jana Schoh; Curt Snitker; Chad Steckel, school district representative; Sue Stirn and Rick Welsh.
They congratulated the Board on recently hiring a new director, Dan Fisher, to oversee the work of the organization. Further congratulations were offered because of the recent designation of the downtown area as a National Historic District. Further celebrations of this designation will be planned in the near future.

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