A 14-person delegation representing Decorah made a presentation Tuesday in Des Moines before the Iowa Department of Economic Development to be designated a Main Street Iowa community.
Main Street Iowa provides architectural, engineering, and design services to designated Main Street communities. Assistance from the Main Street Iowa program includes training workshops, architectural and design assistance, business strategy assistance, and a variety of technical assistance.
Decorah City Council Member Steve Luse was part of the presentation and believes it went over well and is very optimistic. "The Main Street Iowa program is a unique opportunity for Decorah to revitalize the downtown business infrastructure," said Councilperson Luse. The Main Street Iowa program, if it's approved, would help Decorah in "learning how to connect needs and opportunity," said Councilperson Luse. He considers the dozen vacant storefronts on Water Street distressing, and the Main Street Iowa program, he believes, is an important first step in revitalizing downtown Decorah.
Delegates representing Decorah included Decorah Main Street Steering Committee Chair Llew Jenkins; City Council Members Steve Luse, Johnna Bergan, and Ross Hadley; and Decorah Public Library Director Kristin Torresdahl, among others.
According to the submitted proposal, the financial commitment of the city would be $100,000, over three years. According to the proposed budget, the city's financial commitment the first year would be $20,000, followed by $30,000 in year two, and $50,000 in year three. The proposed budget suggests the year-one commitment of $20,000 be paid from the receipts of the Hotel Motel lodging tax.
On or before Monday, the Decorah delegation will be contacted by the Iowa Department of Economic Development and informed of the results. A formal in-community announcement won't be made until August 13 or August 14.