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Belle Plaine’s Design Committee received the Best Design Project award at the annual Main Street Awards Cremony April 16 in Des Moines. The committee received top honors for its Walldogs mural project. Shown from left are Bret Mills, director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development; Design Committee members Geraldine Norgaard; Bill Daily, chairman; Trevor Hawkins, Steve Beck and Iowa Lt. Gov. Patty Judge. Submitted photo
The Main Street Iowa program recently gave Belle Plaine two honors for their work in their Main Street. Jennifer Zahradnik (center) was honored as volunteer of the year for her dedication to downtown revitalization, and for enhancing economic development in Belle Plaine and the State of Iowa. She was honored for her work with the Belle Plaine Development Corporation during 2009. Mayor James Daily (right) displays another Main Street Iowa award, recognizing the local design committee’s Walldog Murals as the best design committee project of the Main Street Iowa Program during the past year. Also shown on the left is Belle Plaine Community Development Director Jeanne Duffy.

Nearly 400 individuals from across the state attended the 23rd Annual Main Street Awards Ceremony April 16 at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown. Nominations were submitted for 105 projects this year; 32 were selected for awards and 11 received honorable mention.

The Belle Plaine Design Committee was awarded the Best Design Project for the Walldogs murals. Jennifer Zahradnik, past president of the Belle Plaine Community Development Corporation, received one of 44 Volunteer of the Year awards signed by Gov. Chet Culver. The award signifies Zahradnik’s dedication to downtown revitalization by enhancing economic development in Belle Plaine and the State of Iowa. Volunteer of the Year award recipients were selected by their communities for outstanding dedication and volunteer service benefiting the local Main Street program.

Lt. Governor, Patty Judge and Bret Mills, director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development, presented the awards during the celebration.

Strong and dynamic communities are an important part of economic development. IDED, through The Downtown Resource Center and Main Street Iowa program, are dedicated to supporting the preservation of the unique character, charm and history of our downtowns,” said Mills. “I am extremely pleased to have this opportunity to recognize the hard work, partnerships and dedication of the local Main Street programs and the staff and volunteers that make it happen.”

Three communities were recognized for reaching significant benchmarks based on private dollar investments made in the purchase and revitalization of downtown properties. Mount Pleasant and Mount Vernon each reached the $5 million mark. Spencer was honored for reaching $20 million in local investment since its program began in 1987.

The Iowa Legislature adopted the National Main Street Center’s Four Point Approach™ to downtown revitalization by establishing Main Street Iowa within the Iowa Department of Economic Development in 1985. Main Street Iowa, the premier program of the Iowa Downtown Resource Center, currently provides services to 46 designated programs. For more than 24 years, the state program and its communities have been considered examples of excellence in the national effort to revitalize historic commercial districts across the country.

Over the years, by working together with the state, Main Street Iowa communities have realized the benefits of more than 1.8 million hours of volunteer time committed to improving their city centers, a significantly increased job and business base, and nearly $900 million in private investment to  purchase, construct and rehabilitate downtown property.

For more information about each Main Street Iowa community and how all Iowa communities can access commercial revitalization assistance through the Iowa Downtown Resource Center, visit, e-mail or call 515.725.3056.

UPDATED April 28, 2010 2:59 PM

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