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Newton Main Street members attend Preserve Iowa Summit

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014 11:00 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014 11:02 a.m. CDT

Newton Main Street Board Chair Graham Sullivan and Director Andrew Bassman attended the Preserve Iowa Summit this past weekend in Cedar Rapids.

The summit is in its second year and is coordinated by the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Iowa Downtown Resource Center and the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs’ State Historic Preservation Office along with several other entities.

“Many of the sessions gave me ideas of ways other communities, large and small, are doing things to attract people to their downtowns, engaging our youth so that they may be more interested in preserving what we have started and will carry us into the next generation,” Sullivan said.

Along with Sullivan and Bassman, the Capitol II Theatre’s Dawn Bleeker gave a presentation on Thursday afternoon titled “Movie Theaters: Success in the Digital Age.”

The Preserve Iowa Summit is the only statewide conference for professionals and volunteers involved in historic preservation and commercial district revitalization in Iowa. There were 30 educational sessions held in financial and planning tools to revitalize neighborhoods and downtowns, the economic benefits of preservation at the local level and how preservation can help sustain a sense of place in all communities along with many other topics and break-out sessions. Along with the sessions, tours of historic preservation successes and progress were available to attendees.

“I’m amazed by the amount of resources Main Street offers us. What a great state Iowa is to truly care about historic preservation,” Sullivan said.

The summit hopes to help people who recognize the importance of downtown revitalization and historic preservation a place to network and gain tools to discover, retain and enhance the town sense of place.

“Tearing down the old isn’t always the best idea. To restore and update in keeping with the history of the building adds more heritage to many communities than to just build new,” Sullivan said. Its inaugural conference was held in 2013 in Burlington.

Contact Staff Writer Jamee A. Pierson at (641) 792-3121 ext. 6534 or jpierson@newtondailynews.com.

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