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Newton Main Street continues efforts downtown

Published: Thursday, April 13, 2017 9:35 a.m. CST • Updated: Thursday, April 13, 2017 11:01 a.m. CST

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Newton Main Street once again had a busy year in downtown Newton. The biggest news from the organization was executive director Andrew Bassman leaving the position after two years and Graham Sullivan, who served as board president since its inception, named new executive director in July.

Sullivan, who has been working in the community with Renew Newton before the community was awarded Main Street status, had just been awarded the Governor’s Volunteer Award in June.

“I’m thrilled at the opportunity to lead such a great organization,” Sullivan said. “I was born and raised here and am really excited to see the progress we have made in the downtown. There is so much potential with the downtown and I cannot wait to get started and do what I can to help downtown to reach its potential.”

The announcement was made not long after the city approved a two-year extension of the program agreement. The city had originally agreed to a three-year commitment and with the extension gives Main Street a stable base to continue its mission.

Work did continue with Main Street Iowa representatives visiting Newton to view the progress of the former Hotel Maytag project. The organization awarded a $75,000 Main Street Iowa Challenge grant to fund part of the rehabilitation in October 2015.

A 50/50 raffle kicked off the 2017-2019 pledge drive in July, awarding the lucky winner $2,700 during a drawing in September.

“It’s a win win for both involved. We are able to raise some funds for our efforts as well as a lucky winner is able to take home a significant amount of cash,” Sullivan said. “A fun event to kick off our new three year pledge drive.”

Main Street also brought Newton’s Magnetic Main Street back during homecoming activities giving citizens an opportunity win prizes attached by magnet to the Iowa Speedway Pace Car. Prizes included hotel stays, tickets to area sporting events and gift cards to local businesses.

“It is a fun, easy event for people to participate in and come away with a great prize,” Sullivan said.

2016 wrapped up with the third annual Shop Small event for Small Business Saturday. Main Street District retailers and restaurants once again offered retail promotions, coupons and give aways to help encourage community members to shop local after Thanksgiving.

In February, Main Street did its third cash mob providing an influx of cash to one lucky downtown business. The mob is a group of people pledging to spend $20 at a specific time and place.

The first event took place at Mojos Cycling with a mob taking over The Farmers Wife during the second round. Mattingly Music and Book Store was the benefactor of the most recent cash mob.

Recently, Main Street began work on a new alleyway featuring art from local artists. The alleyway is located behind Konek PC and Caldwell Law offices to South Second Avenue.

“We are hoping to have an area for benches, plants and possibly tables for people to sit and eat,” Newton Main Street Executive Director Graham Sullivan said. “The art will cover the old window wells, now bricked up, on the building that sits to the east of the alleyway.”

The building the art will be hung on is currently owned by Jasper County and was once the city’s fire station. It will be up year round and maintained by Newton Main Street.

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

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