Main Street in Ames chosen for 2020 national Main Street accreditation program


The Octagon Center for the Arts on 427 Douglas Ave. in Downtown Ames. 

Kylee Haueter

Main Street America has named Main Street in Ames a 2020 Accredited Main Street America program.

According to their website, Main Street America is a program that is part of the National Main Street Center that revitalizes “older and historic commercial districts to build vibrant neighborhoods and thriving economies.” 

The National Main Street Center was started in 1980 as an effort to rebuild and bring life back into older, more historic downtown communities. 

Accreditation is proof that a community is dedicated to “comprehensive commercial district revitalization,” according to a press release from Ames Main Street. 

John Hall, executive director of Ames Main Street, said receiving accreditation is important to showcase the Ames community. 

“While we seek to receive this accreditation annually, the importance of receiving it is to showcase that Ames is a community that is committed to seeing a strong and vibrant Downtown,” Hall said. “By following the Main Street America 4-Point Approach, we are a driving force for seeking improvements to Downtown Ames that elevates us into being the best destination district that we can be.”

Patrice Frey, president and CEO of the National Main Street Center, said in the press release that they are proud of the programs that received accreditation this year and that these programs will spark economic growth during current economic turbulence. 

“These Accredited Main Street programs have proven to be powerful engines for revitalization by sparking impressive economic returns and preserving the character of their communities,” Frey said. “During these challenging times, these Main Street programs will be key to bringing economic vitality back to commercial districts and improving quality of life during the recovery process.”

Hall said that while the accreditation doesn’t provide immediate tools or resources, it provides reassurance to Ames businesses that the program is able to help. 

“By meeting the accreditation standards, it means that we have a solid group of volunteers dedicated to improving the district, focused on increasing sales traffic and engaged in making sure all of our businesses have access to the tools and resources necessary to weather this storm.”

The press release says that in 2019, $6.45 billion of public and private reinvestment was generated; 6,466 net new businesses were opened; 32,316 net new jobs were created and 10,412 buildings were rehabilitated in communities part of the Main Street America Program.

Ames Main Street has been a part of the Main Street America program since 2009 to help business and promote Downtown as the destination district at the heart of Ames.