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Sunday, August 27, 2017

years 30 of Cedar Falls



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Shoppers browse along Main Street in Cedar Falls.

Community Main Street impact on Cedar Falls SUBMITTED BY CAROL LILLY

Community Main Street Executive Director

‌CEDAR FALLS — In 1987, facing a do-or-die situation on Main Street, a community group was created by individuals who believed in the potential of downtown. Now 30 years later, the community benefits from their vision every day. The potential that Community Main Street envisioned has blossomed into reality that affects not only those who do business and visit downtown, but our entire quality of life in the Cedar Valley. The first 10 years were necessary to lay groundwork and build incrementally, with the next 10 years spent developing partnerships and programs that would help advance the organization

steadily. Over the past 10 years, the organization has focused upon district growth, business support and developing downtown not only as an economic hub, but also as a “quality of life” asset for the area. CMS has accomplished so much. In 2002 Cedar Falls received the Great American Main Street Award given by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to a very select group of communities across the country for excellence in downtown revitalization, and in 2004 was named one of Iowa’s first Cultural and Entertainment Districts celebrated by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. In 2010, the National Trust again recognized downtown Cedar Falls naming it one of the

Dozen Distinctive Destinations in the United States and in 2017, the Travel Federation of Iowa named our district the Most Outstanding Retail Experience in the state. Since 1990, Community Main Street has been honored to receive 50 different awards during Main Street Iowa’s annual recognition ceremonies. Locally, Community Main Street has been recognized during the Business and Industry Awards with the Tourism & Recreation Award in 2010 and with the Community Supporter Award in 2015. The Cedar Falls Tourism Bureau recognized CMS as the 2016 Friend of Tourism in their annual award ceremony. It is well known that the catalyst for development downtown was the renovation of the Oster Regent Theatre in the early

1990s, led by the Cedar Falls Community Theatre and supported by the entire community. That project combined with the protection provided by the newly constructed floodwall invited investment that snowballed throughout the Parkade. The renovation of the Black Hawk Hotel and restoration of the Fourth and Main building followed, providing examples of how historic preservation was a good economic investment. From 2008 through 2016 historic renovation projects, supported in part through Main Street Iowa Challenge Grants, brought back the charm, elegance and character that only old architecture can contribute. The restoration of the Historic Post Office at 217 Washington St., took the focus

“off Main” and recognized the importance of maintaining historic structures along side and parallel streets. Although the downtown district has seen a lot of improvements over the last several years, more can be done. Community Main Street has been working with area partners to establish a commercial historic district designation on the National Register. Nearing the final stage, the designation will provide both economic and quality of life benefits. Economically, it will bring access to financial resources in the form of historic tax credits and provide an incentive for rehabilitating historic buildings resulting in an increase in property values. It will Please see IMPACT, Page 3

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The Main Street Movement

Impact From 2


Iowa Department of Economic AuthorityMain Street Iowa State Coordinator‌

‌Main Street is a movement. Lead by Main Street America, Main Street is a leading voice for preservation-based economic development and traditional commercial district revitalization. Made up of small towns, mid-sized communities, and urban commercial districts, Main Street represents the broad diversity that makes Iowa and the country unique. Working together, local leaders have implemented practical management strategies producing fundamental changes in Iowa’s Main Streets for over three decades. Main Street in Iowa. In 1985, the Iowa Legislature adopted the National Main Street Center’s Main Street America model and established Main Street Iowa as a program of the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Today, Main Street is the premiere program of the Iowa Downtown Resource Center and is recognized as one of the most successful state Main Street programs in the nation. Main Street is Impact. Since Main Street Iowa’s inception, local Main Street programs have experienced significant statewide economic impacts. Creating more than 4,600 downtown businesses employing an additional 14,000 people. As-

sisting in nearly 16,000 building improvement projects that have leveraged over $1.7 billion dollars in private investment. Each Main Street program is locally powered through human resources and has documented over 3 million volunteer hours. Main Street is a time-test strategy. The Main Street movement grew out of a recognition that a community is only as strong as its core. The practical framework has helped pave the way for the renaissance for healthier and more vibrant downtowns across the nation. The Main Street Approach is rooted in a commitment to broad-based community engagement, a holistic understanding of the factors that impact the quality of life in a community, and strategic focus on the core principles of traditional commercial district revitalization: Economic Vitality, Quality Design, Effective Promotion and Sustainable Organization.

Cedar Falls Community Main Street Mission‌ Cedar Falls Community Main Street, Inc. is a volunteer-driven, non-profit organization established to foster economic vitality and to preserve and promote the historic image and character of the downtown, while improving the quality of life in Cedar Falls. Friends of Community Main Street From the beginning, the Friends of Community Main Street have been there for Community Main Street. They’ve given generously to help keep the vision of a vibrant downtown alive and growing.

Because of the help and support of our Friends, Community Main Street will continue our efforts to expand economic development programming, promote historic preservation and sponsor special event. Cedar Falls Community Main Street 206 Main Street Suite B Cedar Falls, IA 50613 (319) 277-0213 Carol Lilly, Executive Director Kim Bear, Events & Promotions Coordinator

likely improve our quality of life by strengthening neighborhoods and promoting a sense of neighborhood and community pride. Not all areas of the district are historically significant, and new development has occurred to fill the void. State Street has seen dramatic changes with new construction in the 200, 300 and 500 blocks. Residential, retail and office space have been added bringing new living and working opportunities to the district. Another new mixed-use construction project is scheduled to begin along First Street in the near future. Community Main Street, downtown businesses and the city of Cedar Falls, have created a strong, balanced organization that in the last 30 years has survived and thrived through a variety of business cycles, totally reconstructed streetscape project, an increase in neighboring community commercial districts and area leadership changes. The primary funding source of the program was created in 1987 and has grown steadily as the property values increase. The Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District is a self-assessment by the downtown commercial property owners that has been overwhelmingly renewed every five years to continue the program. Downtown property owners and businesses clearly understand that the success of their downtown has been by design through the philosophy and support of Main Street America, with Cedar Falls becoming a model program noted nationwide. The SSMID, combined with the generous contributions to our “Friends” campaign, provide the resources to support the hard work necessary to grow and enhance the downtown progress. Events ranging from Movies Under the Moon to Girls’ Night Out provide frequent opportunities for everyone to enjoy downtown as a “neighbor-


200 Block West in downtown Cedar Falls. hood” as well as a business district. Award-winning promotions ranging from ARTapalooza to Holiday Hoopla to FondoFest have exemplified how the spirit of cross-promotion and cooperative advertising can unite a business district more like a business “family.” But the events Community Main Street organizes and hosts are more than quality of life activities. The economic impact of the event includes the additional expenditures generated in the community as a whole.

Increased spending as a result of the event can include gas, lodging, dining and direct expenditures at the event. The past 30 years have been productive and rewarding, but the future for downtown is exciting with given certainties: changes, opportunities, and challenges. These are truly phases and prospects that will define downtown Cedar Falls for the next 30 years and Community Main Street is looking forward to working to ensure continued success.

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Downtown Cedar Falls


| SUNDAY, AUGUST 27, 2017




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Downtown’s ambiance


Community Main Street Design Committee

CEDAR FALLS — It’s hard to recall now, but 30 years ago downtown Cedar Falls was a vastly different place than it is today. Nearly every other storefront was empty or underutilized, lots of buildings had unsightly wood, plastic or metal siding or panels covering the historic facades and upper stories were neglected and empty. There were few pedestrians, and not much traffic. Today, the opposite of each of those statements is true. Success came from personal investment, grants, volunteer sweat equity, and support from the City of Cedar Falls and many, many local businesses. When Cedar Falls became a Main Street Iowa community in 1987 that came with a commitment to the four-point approach, one point being design, or the features that make up the downtown environment — its ambiance. The purpose of the Design Committee is to create an attractive, coordinated and high-quality image that highlights downtown’s unique assets, heritage and distinct aesthetic character. This work is accomplished by a committee currently made up of 16 volunteers with backgrounds in architecture, signage, historic renovation and other stakeholders. These dedicated volunteers engage in such glamourous housekeeping tasks as banner design, repair and installation; plant maintenance (six volunteers water 31 hanging baskets and 29 pots every day, which takes about two hours each time; baskets and pots increased last year as the district has really grown to include State and Washington Streets); planting of 19 new trees on Washington

Street; two clean up days annually; installation of decorations integral to the success of Holiday Hoopla; cleaning sidewalks with the new gum buster and many other unseen chores. One of the biggest tasks of the committee is to work with the city of Cedar Falls to implement the downtown overlay ordinance, which was established to preserve the historic personality and to protect property values and the aesthetic appeal of the downtown. Each year the Design Committee works with 30 to 40 property and business owners to identify and adopt designs consistent with the historic character of downtown. These numbers are worth noting again — in 30 years, there have been 838 building projects with $36 million worth of investment to create the charming historic ambiance that is a big draw to the district for residents and visitors alike. Downtown’s success has resulted in a positive challenge — how best to accommodate guests who want to visit? In 2014 a task force of the Design Committee joined with others to conduct a downtown parking study. The outcomes of that study are still being implemented and included more and better information

about downtown parking permits, parking maps, improved walkability with additional lighting in certain areas, shared parking agreements and initial research into a public/private parking structure. That work was conducted by 52 volunteers who walked 1,180 miles collecting data over eight months. Members of the committee were also important to the development of the Master Streetscape Plan adopted by the city for the downtown district. As infrastructure improvements are made on the main and side streets, elements of this plan will be added as appropriate, including trash bins, benches, historic light poles, plantings, banner poles, etc. This work will help tie together the district and really help visitors feel they’ve reached a destination. In the earliest years of the Main Street program, our own families and friends made up the volunteer corps and guests for events, but dedicated and determined people kept at it and today it’s easy to say it was worth it. All of those hours, miles, garbage bags, meetings, sore backs, and most of all, fun have created the dynamic, thriving business district our community has come to appreciate, enjoy and expect.

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Volunteers are backbone of Community Main Street CAROL LILLY

Cedar Falls Community Main Street Executive Director‌

‌One in every four Americans does some volunteer work each year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. “Volunteers are the backbone of our organization,” says Amy Mohr, a member of the Community Main Street’s organization and development committee and the board of directors. “Our board and committees are successful because people dedicate their time and talents and many with a monthly commitment.” The number of active volunteers for the organization has varied over the years. One of the requirements for being a designated Main Street community is filing a monthly state report to track growth and various statistical data for the program. The information is compiled on an annual basis and reported back to the community. This helps Main Street communities across the state keep track of accomplishments and milestones. Logging in at over 88,000 volunteer hours since 1987, Community Main Street has made a considerable contribution to the Cedar Falls community over the years. According to the Independent Sector, the current value for one volunteer is $22.95 per hour and with over 6000 hours donated during 2016, Community Main Street provided $137,000+ worth of labor for


the betterment of the city. From the beautiful flowers and festive holiday decorations, to pulling weeds and cleaning sidewalks; from ARTapalooza and Holiday Hoopla to Movies Under the Moon and Hops on Main, downtown volunteers do it all! Finding volunteers is not always an easy task. It is the primary responsibility of the organization and development committee to recruit new volunteers for the board and committees, special projects and events. The committee is also responsible to raise funds for Community Main Street’s on-

going operation, including organizing SSMID renewal every five years. Developing partnerships and gaining community recognition have all been important functions to create a strong, sustainable organization. Community Main Street volunteers include many individuals and groups from throughout the community, each with a particular focus yet all sharing the common goal of a strong downtown business district. As ambassadors for the program, these volunteers help increase public awareness and build the image of a quality organization. Each year, a volunteer of the year is selected and recognized both locally and during the Main Street Iowa Award ceremony in Des Moines each spring. “I get a sense of pride in the community and I have created many friendships that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to create without volunteering for Community Main Street,” said LeaAnn Saul, past volunteer of the year. As a committee or board member, volunteers are asked to publicly and privately support all facets of the community Main Street program. CMS is always open to ideas for improvement and welcomes new volunteer participation and new thoughts. A long-serving Organization and Development Committee member, Jim Miller views his

Volunteers of the year 2017—Ty Kimble 2016—Julie & Andy Shimek 2015—Dawn Wilson 2014—Dave Schachterle 2013—Larry Wessels 2012—Joyce Caley and Beth Delagardelle 2011—Julie and Andy Shimek 2010—Lea Ann Saul 2009—Dave Deaver

2008—Mare Schmidt 2007—Melissa Barber 2006—Barbara Brown 2005—Cathy Rottinghaus 2004—Nancy Ober 2003—Mary Taylor 2002—Cedar Falls Utilities 2001—Vilas “Sid” Morris 2000—Simpson Furniture

1999—Phyllis Carter 1998—Pam Taylor 1997—Pam Taylor 1996—Jackie Roy 1995—Vivian Gray 1994—Susan Chilcott 1990—Daryl Anderson and Susan Chilcott 1989—William Cary 1988 -Wayne Jacobson

To learn more about volunvolunteerism in this way, “If I don’t volunteer, who will? Ev- teering for Community Main erything I give, I get back in so Street contact Carol Lilly (319) many other ways.” 277-0213 or


116 W. 4th Street Cedar Falls, IA 50613 (319) 240-8784 FREESE-FRAME.COM


Here’s to 30 more years of serving our community!



| SUNDAY, AUGUST 27, 2017


Children enjoy watching the train display in he window of Caboose Stop Hobbies during Holiday Hoopla. BRANDON POLLOCK, COURIER STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Made from DOWNTOWN Scratch

People stop to watch Kathleen Roling of Des Moines create a 3D chalk art at a recent Artapalooza in Cedar Falls. BRANDON POLLOCK, COURIER STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

EXPERIENCE sets Cedar Falls apart JULIE SHIMEK

Community Main Street Promotions Committee

This is it. The day you’ve been waiting for. A lot of crumb-topped, icing-swirled planning has gone into getting where you are right now. Some of it was sprinkled in laughter…some was covered in nuts. Either way, it’s time to celebrate. Time to savor every delicious moment, and take one big buttercream and cake-filled bite out of today. Because this isn’t just a party. This is life…made from .

Make Scratch cupcakes part of every celebration: 855-833-5719 | Cedar Falls | Waterloo

When Cedar Falls became a Main Street Iowa community in 1987, it came with a commitment to the four-point approach. One of those points is promotion. The primary responsibility of the Promotions Committee is to create and direct a unified marketing plan and total marketing program that fosters a quality image of the downtown as a center for business investment, shopping, services and entertainment. The committee creates and directs image events and retail promotions in support of marketing goals to build positive attitudes about downtown. The events draw potential customer traffic into the district, which allows businesses to Please see DOWNTOWN, Page 7


Santa Claus waves as he makes his way through the crowd on the Parkade at a recent Holiday Hoopla in Cedar Falls.

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Artapalooza in Cedar Falls, Saturday, September 10, 2016.


People mingle during ARTapalooza on the Parkade in Cedar Falls.

Downtown From Page 6

take advantage of the increased economic activity and develop additional sales. The award-winning promotions include Movies Under the Moon, ARTapalooza, Girls’ Night Out, Fondo Fest, Holiday Hoopla and more. Responsibilities: „„ Develop and implement a broad-based marketing plan that is reviewed annually and revised appropriately; „„ Develop and oversee image events and retail promotions to support marketing goals and to build positive attitudes about downtown;


John Luzaich as the Phantom Of The Opera entertains kids and parents alike above the Oster Regent Theatre at Halloween On Main Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013, in Cedar Falls. „„ Publish a monthly newsletter for property and business owners, city officials, volunteers, opinion leaders and interested community members.

„„ Work to ensure a consistent, high-quality image in all promotions, events, and support materials related to marketing downtown;

Community Main Street Downtown Events JANUARY Winter clearance sales FEBRUARY Downtown Delights Aloha Cedar Falls APRIL Hops On Main (Iowa Brews Beer Tasting) Spring Shop Hop MAY Girls’ Night Out Show & Shine Car Show Volunteer Appreciation Party JUNE Movies Under the Moon

JULY Movies Under the Moon Shrine Bowl Parade Sidewalk Sales AUGUST Movies Under the Moon Panther Prowl Cedar Valley Gran Fondo and FondoFest SEPTEMBER ARTapalooza

Endurance Fest Fall Family Fun Day Witches’ Walk Trick or Treating Downtown NOVEMBER Holiday Shop Hop/Downtown Ingredients Holiday Hoopla Kick Off Small Business Saturday

OCTOBER Girls’ Night Out

DECEMBER Holiday Hoopla Festivities every Thursday & Saturday through Christmas

Pink Ribbon Run

Upstairs Downtown

Sartori Memorial Hospital congratulates

Main Street Cedar Falls on its




| SUNDAY, AUGUST 27, 2017




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Congratulations Cedar Falls Main Street on 30 years!

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102 Main Street before Cup of Joe

Revitalization impact shown in economic development, growth DAVID DEAVER

One of the dramatic successes of Community Main Street over the last 30 years has been the revitalization of the downtown business district. Shuttered store fronts and empty sidewalks spoke of a declining marketplace. The Downtown Merchants Association was fragmented and dysfunctional. Fortunately, in 1987, business proprietors, business owners and other downtown stakeholders reorganized using the Main Street America Program, and Community Main Street was born. The Business Improvement Committee of the organization had the responsibility to develop and implement a market strategy that would result in an improved retail mix, a stronger tax base, increased investor confidence, and a stable role of the downtown as a major component of community confidence. After 30 years, the results as identified by downtown property valuations look like this: 1987 = $8,320,820 2016 = $76,705,700 (most recent data) An increase of 821 percent in property valuation Incremental progress has been made and in COURTESY PHOTO Please see REVITALIZATION, Page 9

Cup of Joe


SUNDAY, AUGUST 27, 2017 |


was between $19,469 to $38,989 per unit at that time. The methodical approach and adherence to the Main Street Approach to economic development has resulted in 30 years of growth and success in Cedar Falls Downtown District, but Community

From Page 8

2014, Cedar Falls was awarded the $50 Million Dollar Community Investment Award by Governor Terry Branstad. Shuttered store fronts no more, sidewalks bustle with activity and Main Street itself can no longer provide enough space for business location demands as the activity spills over to other streets within the district. A miracle? Not hardly. Systematic efforts are made to: — Work to strengthen existing downtown businesses and recruit additional businesses by developing and implementing programs, seminars, and literature. — Monitor changes in the local market on an ongoing basis, assess downtown marketshare, measure the involvement of various groups in downtown commerce, monitor sales leakage or surplus, and assess the downtown mix of retail, commercial, residential, recreational, and civic space. — Inform property and business owners of grant opportunities and assist with writing grants. — Direct activity as it relates to downtown commercial and real estate development. — Conduct and maintain a thorough inventory of downtown properties. — Be aware of city, county, and regional economic development strategies and coordinate projects when possible. One of the catalysts that has been particularly helpful for the revitalization of our historic district has been the Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant program. In 2015, IEDA Director Debi Durham said “These projects represent the ongoing commitment the people of our state — both our elected officials and private citizens — have to the revitalization of our historic downtown districts. Rehabilitated buildings create opportunities for new business in Iowa communities, and new businesses mean new jobs.” Since the inception of this matching grant program, Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant awards have been instrumental to


Main Street is not done. The 2025 strategic plan looks toward improved accessibility throughout the district, wireless connectivity that guides you to parking, business promotions and ongoing downtown activities district wide.


200 Block west side in 2011

Economic activity & accomplishments A snapshot of economic activity and accomplishments from 1987 through 2016 looks like this: Business Starts—183

Building sales—148

New Jobs—676

Private dollars invested in acquisition—$36,982,791

Building projects—838 Private dollars invested in building projects—$36,300,413 the success of several downtown Cedar Falls projects:  2002 — Blackhawk Hotel — $28,350  2006 — 219 Main Street —$100,000  2010 — Bruhn Building at 407 Main Street — $60,000  2011 — Wise Renovation at 122-124 Main— $100,000  2013 — Historic Post Office Rehabilitation at 217 Washington St.— $75,000  2014 — Upper Story Offices at 217 Main Street — $75,000  2014 — Clay Street Business Park at 604 Clay — $20,000 (Business Innovation Grant)  2016 — Wilbo project at 118 Main Street — $75,000 Recently, part of the Cedar Falls Downtown District was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places as a Historic Commercial District. This designation brings State and Federal tax credit opportunities to property owners of contributing properties for renovation projects using historic standards. Eligible projects can receive up to 25 percent credit on state taxes and 20 percent credit on federal taxes

Volunteer hours – 86,519 (value in todays dollars = $1,925,047.75) for property rehabilitation costs, a significant savings opportunity for property owners. In addition to the efforts of the Business Improvement Committee, the Promotions Committee creates and implements a unified marketing plan that fosters a quality image of the downtown as a center for business investment, shopping, services and entertainment. Image events and retail promotions support marketing goals to build positive attitudes about downtown. The events draw potential customer traffic into the district, which allows businesses to take advantage of the increased economic activity and develop additional sales. With all this activity, it is no wonder that not only do people want to come downtown, but they want to live here, also. In the past five years, approximately 100 residential units have been added in the downtown district. According to an economic impact study conducted by Place Economics for Main Street Iowa in 2012, the annual impact of an upper story rental unit by a couple

Peace of mind. Tr a d i t i o n a l c r a f t s m a n s h i p . C o n s i s t e n t . T


construction RESIDENTIAL


Cedar Falls MuniCipal Band Concerts, June-July, Tuesdays

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Main Street Program proves positive change for CF JUDITH A. CUTLER

For Community Main Street ‌

‌CEDAR FALLS — Iowa’s Main Street Program was enacted by the Iowa State Legislature during the 1985 session, after being introduced by Gov. Terry Branstad during his Condition of the State

Address. Gov. Branstad said that he knew this approach would not be a “quick fix,” but a positive step in an incremental approach to fostering positive change in the state. The program was immediately implemented and the first

Community Main Street Congratulations On Your 30 Years!

five communities to be accepted into the program were announced in 1986. Cedar Falls had been severely impacted by the farm crisis in the 1970s and ‘80s and our beloved downtown had suffered. The city of Cedar Falls administration was very excited by the prospect of participating in the Main Street Program and was fully supportive of becoming part of the program. City employees were excited about the prospect of program involvement and those of us employed in Planning and Zoning (later Community Development and now Developmental Services) were part of the implementation process on behalf of the City of Cedar Falls. Cedar Falls was proposed to the Iowa Main Street Program in 1987 and accepted as one of five Iowa cities interested that year. There are now 54 cities participating around the state. An exciting element of the program was the prospect of protecting the Main Street infrastructure and historic buildings, which has certainly been a beneficial part of this program for the past 30 years. I feel sure that Cedar Falls is and should be an example of the truly

Community Main Street Initial Board of Directors

1987 Main Street Application Submitted By:

Ginger Bachman Rosemary Beach William Blair Robert Carmichael William Cary Susan Chilcott Richard Culter Sara Gregory Wayne Jacobson Daniel Manternach James Mashek Marvin Morgan Clifford Mortenson Thomas Sampson John Stibal

A.J. Torrones, Executive Director Chamber of Commerce Douglas Sharp, Mayor David Cutler, Downtown Merchant Association Judith Cutler, Sturgis Falls President Craig Hoffman, VP American Federal Gene Lehman, merchant Donald Lindaman, CF Trust President J.L. Little, Northwest CF President Richard Shilling, property owner John Stibal, Dept. of Economic Development

positive elements of the Main Street Program. As an employee of the city of Cedar Falls during those years, I felt the excitement of being part of Main Street Iowa. I went to several meetings and award ceremonies in Des Moines. The potential success of the Main Street Program has proven to be real and continues to this day. As Gov. Branstad stated, the Main

Street Program has had much more of an impact than we could have imagined in 1985. Cedar Falls’ participation in the Main Street Iowa Program has been a positive association with the state of Iowa and led to other successful economic associations. From my point of view, I was very pleased that I could be a part of this success story.


An aerial view of the Parkade as it once appeared.


SUNDAY, AUGUST 27, 2017 |



Vice President Residential DevelopmentEagle View Partners

2017’s downtown has progressed significantly from 1987’s downtown. In 30 years, the district has gone from derelict to dynamic, collecting national recognition like, “Great American Main Street,” a historic designation and nearly $100M in local investments. The redevelopment of downtown is a success story based upon community investment and smart growth. But we’d be remiss to be content with 2017’s success. Keeping — or leading— the pace of progress with other Midwest cities is what will keep Cedar Falls on the map. On this milestone anniversary, we should be proud of our past, but ask ourselves: “What is the future of downtown?” The Urban Land Institute says “the elements of a thriving community don’t come together randomly. Insightful planning and design are needed to ensure that the people, businesses, services, buildings, open spaces and infrastructure all work in harmony.” One local group, called Future Forward 2025, developed

The depot, at 422 Main St., serves as offices for ICM Financial. BRANDON POLLOCK, COURIER STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

a comprehensive community growth plan, which is a perfect jumping-off point for visioning tomo care, education, finance, development and government, the group released a strategic plan that challenged downtown to grow in these three areas:

LIVE: Downtown housing will attract and retain talent and wealth In 2012, Main Street Iowa published a study which showed that a couple renting a downtown apartment in Iowa will spend between $19,000 and $38,000 annually in the downtown. A residential population inherently complements the retail focus of a downtown, becoming a built-in patron base looking to eat, drink and shop downtown 24/7. In 2013, the demand for residential units downtown outpaced the availability of existing second floor apartments, and River Place’s first m u l t i fa m i ly p ro p e r t y

opened 21 new units. Since then, the downtown’s count has surpassed 100, with an additional 75 units incoming for 2018-2019. Downtown has grown from a couple dozen to nearly 200 units in a five-year period. According to the Main Street Iowa study, the economic impact of those residents living downtown is $750,000 per year. Factoring in property taxes ($1,500/unit per year), the downtown’s residential population has a $1M annual economic impact on the community. Today’s most influential generations, Millennials and Baby Boomers, are demanding this shift in lifestyle. Home ownership is at a historic 50-year low, as are interest rates. Nationally and globally, we are seeing a trend of people moving to urban centers, favoring a lifestyle hinged on walkability, convenience, being social and well connected. Studies say around 60 percent of Millennials choose where they want to live before finding a job. It is important to keep pace with these demographics and to offer attractive housing. More-

Did you know?

Downtown Cedar Falls is a valuable community asset and an example of successful redevelopment. We’re an inspiration for historic downtowns throughout the country — and around the world.

Congratulations on three decades of creating community in Cedar Falls.

Please see FUTURE, Page 12

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Future From Page 11

over, as these populations age, consideration should be given to family-friendly and retirement-friendly housing within the downtown.

WORK: Encourage new models for doing business downtown Today’s high-growth businesses demand flexible office space to complement traditional brick-and-mortar options today. One new model coming to downtown is called micro-retail. These tiny spaces are designed for local entrepreneurs to test a retail concept with low overhead and low risk, in hopes that they’ll find success and graduate to larger spaces as their businesses grow. Downtown landmark, Scratch Cupcakery, pioneered this concept, starting small until they could justify


Left: The new Urban Pie in the new River Place building in Cedar Falls. Right: The Pink Peony Studio at the River Place in Cedar Falls. their current 9,871 square-foot location. Another national trend is coworking space and a new business accelerator. Area entrepreneurs, remote workers and at-home workers can find community, business resources, and turn-key office space at Mill Race. This collaborative model increases new business ideas that are bound to

be the seeds of future businesses rooted in the Cedar Valley, creating new wealth, attracting young talent and supporting our retail/ residential investments.

ship with the river has been strained the past 30 years (not surprisingly after several 500year floods!). In the near future, a new riverfront public plaza will establish an important link PLAY: Connecting the between downtown and the downtown and the river river, featuring a stage for live music and other possible amewill enhance quality of life nities such as a splash pad and Our community’s relation- ice rink.

A planned Cedar River Whitewater District, with in- and outof-water attractions, will promote recreation, regional tourism and quality of life. Best yet, the project is being developed in conjunction with the levee reconstruction project — anticipated to start this fall — which will raise the levee two feet to further protect downtown.

Profile for Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier

30 Years of Cedar Falls Community Main St  

30 Years of Cedar Falls Community Main St