Main Street Lansing sees change of leadership as Board President Bruce Palmborg retires, Executive Director Andy Kelleher plans move to Iowa City

Presidential transition ... Lansing native Chris Troendle (left) will be assuming the role of president for the Main Street Lansing Board of Directors following the recent retirement of Bruce Palmborg (right) from that position. Palmborg has served in the role of board president since the creation of Main Street Lansing in 2012. Submitted photo.

Volunteer of the Year also named new executive director ... Andrew Boddicker (left in above photo) was selected as Volunteer of the Year by the Main Street Lansing organization at its annual banquet in April of this year. Boddicker has also been named the new executive director of Main Street Lansing, replacing current director Andy Kelleher (pictured at right) in that position in July of this year when Kelleher plans to move to Iowa City to pursue a degree in International Relations at the University of Iowa. Submitted photo.

Chris Troendle is new board president, Andrew Boddicker will be new executive director

by Julie Berg-Raymond

Main Street Lansing will have new leadership, beginning this year. Chris Troendle is the organization’s new board president, replacing Bruce Palmborg - who retired in the fall of 2022 after serving in that position for 10 years.  Palmborg, who was one of the people instrumental in getting Lansing designated a Main Street Iowa community, will continue to be involved on the organization’s board of directors. Andrew Boddicker will begin serving as Main Street Lansing’s executive director July 10 of this year, replacing Andy Kelleher - who has held that position since the winter of 2018. Kelleher is moving on to the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City this fall to complete studies for his degree in International Relations and a career with global aspirations.

Palmborg first became aware of the Main Street America Program, which originated with the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1980, in the early 1980s - by virtue of his employment with the City of Richfield, MN. The Iowa Legislature birthed the Main Street Iowa (MSI) Program in 1985; and, after visiting Lansing for the first time Palmborg began thinking the city could benefit greatly by participating in that program.

“We identified some potential members of a steering committee,” Palmborg recalls. “All but one of the potential members accepted.”

The steering committee held its first meeting in late 2008 and planned to submit a formal application to become an MSI community. However, in late December 2009, the committee was told that MSI would not be adding any new communities in 2010.

“That was extremely disappointing news,” Palmborg recalls. “The director of MSI advised that we self-initiate and become a member of Main Street America. We jumped at the opportunity and became known as Main Street Matters, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.”

In 2012, they were invited to apply for status as a Main Street Iowa community. “We filled a chartered bus provided by KBSB (and were joined by a couple of cars) with citizens eager to make our proposal to the Main Street Iowa Board,” Palmborg says. “We wowed them! That is when we became known as Main Street Lansing.”

Palmborg says that, while “there are always new challenges,” the Main Street Lansing Program has without question been a success. “Sales are up, tax revenues are up, and there are more potential customers on the sidewalk,” he notes. “The annual ‘A Taste of Lansing’ in May is an after-hours attraction that has been enticing people to downtown and into the shops since the beginning of the program, and Main Street Madness in November and December has shown increasing customer participation and increasing sales each year. Yes, there are vacant store fronts, but change is the nature of retail business.”

Among early Main Street Lansing projects he recalls with some measure of pride were finding a new owner for the vacant and boarded-up Pilot House at 271 Main Street, and working with KBSB and the buyers to renovate the building and secure occupants; securing a place on the National Register of Historic Places for the four blocks along Main Street from 2nd Street to 4th Street; purchasing the lot at the corner of Main Street and 3rd Street when the building there had to be torn down, and turning it into a plaza; and twice bringing RAGBRAI to town. He also recalls “the many recognitions/awards MSL has received because of the efforts committed people.”

By way of parting words, Palmborg has this to say to his replacement, Chris Troendle: “Follow your instincts. You have lots of relevant community organization experience from which to draw.”

To Andy Kelleher, departing executive director, Palmborg says: “You will be missed by all of us, including me. Your enthusiasm and insight during these past four-plus years have been of great benefit to the Lansing community. Your ability to take disparate parts and pull them together into an effective strategy will stand you in good stead.”

To incoming executive director, Andrew Boddicker: “Nurture your enthusiasm and drive for the tough decisions you will need to make. You are rich in relevant experiences which will serve you well.”

About the Lansing community as a whole, Palmborg says, “working with so many people who believe in the future of Lansing as well as the future of our downtown Main Street has been an inspiration to me, especially in the dark moments. Thank you for providing me this opportunity.”

Troendle brings 20-plus years of working in the non-profit world to his new position as Main Street Lansing board president. In the past year and a half, he has worked with all its committees in one form or another.

Troendle says he wants to “continue the legacy Bruce Palmborg started so many years ago. I want Lansing to continue to grow and flourish. My goal is to give back to my community in the best way possible and, hopefully, get many others to engage the same way.”

Troendle describes Lansing as “a town with unlimited possibilities. We have an amazing community, caring residents, one of the best schools in the country, outstanding businesses, and opportunities that other communities nationwide only wish they could have.”

When he started his tenure as MSL executive director in 2018, the main thing Kelleher wanted to do, he says, was “leverage the complete Main Street Approach to help Lansing grow. The Main Street Approach is built on the idea that four different aspects of downtown development are equally important to growth, and the best chance for success is to deploy efforts in all four areas. These areas are Promotion, Design, Economic Vitality, and Organization. When I joined Main Street Lansing, the only area actively being met was Promotion, so I wanted to bring the other three aspects of development into play,” he says.

“I also wanted to highlight local businesses in unique ways so that people could constantly discover something new,” Kelleher says. Among the projects undertaken toward that end were a video interview series with businesses around town, allowing business owners to talk about their ventures and show off their offerings, and coordinating joint marketing campaigns that allowed businesses to advertise for a discounted rate. During the pandemic, Kelleher published a constantly updated list of business hours and accessibility information.

“I also worked to help the business owners improve their buildings through grant opportunities, the most recent being the Allamakee County Facade Improvement Grant,” Kelleher says. “I lobbied the County for two years to create that program, and after we built significant county support, the county supervisors approved a program that offers up to $5,000 in matching funds to commercial property owners to fix up the exteriors of their buildings, which improves foot traffic and visitation.” Lansing businesses received five of the initial 11 grants through that program.

In terms of economic vitality, MSL under Kelleher’s leadership conducted an in-depth market study in 2019 that continues to provide valuable information to both existing and prospective businesses, and arranged for multiple business trainings to be held in Lansing. In the area of design, the Main Street Plaza renovation project was funded by a $50,000 T-Mobile Hometown Grant. Additionally, MSL recruited volunteers to restart the three committees (Design, Economic Vitality, and Organization).

“Our volunteer capacity has increased by a factor of four under my tenure, which has made the organization very strong moving forward,” he says.

Kelleher says he is proud of the way the community weathered the pandemic. “That was a major crisis, and not many towns recovered as well as Lansing,” he says. “We banded together and supported our businesses, and we only lost one business to the pandemic - and even that one didn’t close until the winter of 2021. On top of that, Lansing emerged from the pandemic stronger than ever: We’ve had seven new businesses, multiple property sales, and over $4 million in downtown investment since the pandemic restrictions were lifted.”

For his part, he says he was glad he was able to serve as a communication hub. “Everyone had a million things to worry about, so I was able to ease their burden by providing daily updates about state restrictions, federal programs, grants and more. I also worked with businesses to secure hundreds of thousands of dollars in COVID relief funding, which helped encourage Lansing’s strong recovery.”

Kelleher says he sees Lansing as having “a lot of momentum right now. I am getting two or three calls a month from people looking for storefronts to open new businesses.”

This summer, the city will see a lot of development: Five facade grant projects will be completed, three storefronts will have their wooden trim updated thanks to a grant secured by the MSL Design Committee, and the Main Street Plaza project will be completed.

“On top of that, multiple property owners are planning their own independent improvements, building off the momentum they see around them,” Kelleher says. “The City of Lansing is engaged in encouraging community growth through some proposed development incentives, and Main Street Lansing has teams of energized volunteers ready to maintain this growth. This is an exciting time to be in Lansing, and I look forward to seeing its continued growth in the years to come.”

For now, though, Kelleher is moving away to complete his International Relations degree program. “My long-term plan is to become a diplomat, serving the United States in an embassy overseas and working with other nations to solve international problems,” he explains.

About the community he has served and is leaving behind for now, Kelleher says, “the people of Lansing make my work possible. Without volunteers who care about our town, nothing can be accomplished. Every single program and activity conducted by Main Street Lansing is pulled off because volunteers dedicate their time to successfully helping Lansing thrive. I am thankful for the volunteers I have worked with, and I hope anyone reading this is encouraged to look into the volunteer opportunities available through Main Street Lansing.”

Andrew Boddicker has lived in Lansing since 2020. He has been active on the Main Street Lansing Economic Vitality committee and was the project lead for the creation of the city’s tourism map for visitors. He also was a co-organizer for Lansing RAGBRAI 2022, which saw historic profits come to Lansing for Main Street Lansing and local non-profits, schools and city governments, and completed the first phase of the downtown lighting project that was completed in the fall of 2022.

“These projects have been some of the most rewarding work in my life and I am honored to carry the organization going forward in an official capacity,” he says. Boddicker recently was named Volunteer of the Year by Main Street Lansing.

“When I moved here in 2020, I became immersed in the city and found great joy and passion in helping the community grow and strengthen through development and quality of life efforts,” he says. “It has been very exciting to watch Lansing make strides towards beautification efforts - facade improvements, new planters and trash cans, public art installments, plaza renovation, the skyline lighting project. Seeing the positive changes and huge volunteer efforts pay off in such an impactful way motivates me to keep moving forward and to continue helping this incredible community grow and thrive. There are many big projects that are beginning to take shape that will have generational effects on the community - those excite me because this town deserves to grow, thrive and be a model of greatness for this region.”

Boddicker credits early and current leadership with helping “to lead the community in a multi-faceted approach to economic and community development. Bruce Palmborg and Andy Kelleher helped Lansing through the trials of the pandemic and have readied the organization for its next chapter,” he says. “As Main Street Lansing continues to bring about growth and development, I invite our community to check in and share their expertise and skills with us. A town our size must utilize every bit of skill, knowledge, funds and volunteer efforts to bring about positive change and keep alive those things we cherish. There are many opportunities to get involved with Main Street Lansing, and other local organizations, and I challenge this community to keep showing up for one another and showing how, even here in rural Iowa, we can do great things if we do them together.”

For information on donating time or finances to the Main Street Lansing organization, email More information can also be found online at or on Facebook at LansingIowa.