June 19, 2024

Newton Main Street expands district

Legacy Plaza, DMACC and Center for Arts & Artists included in boundaries

Newton Main Street has expanded its district boundaries to include areas such as DMACC Newton Campus, the Centre for Arts & Artists and the ever-developing Legacy Plaza, which executive director Erin Yeager said will benefit efforts to make the city’s downtown area a tourist destination.

“Expanding the district, I feel, is a win-win to be able utilize both areas to capitalize on making us a destination,” Yeager said. “We want people to come and spend the day in Newton. And you can do that now. Downtown, a few years ago, didn’t have all four sides of the square with retail. We do now.”

Prior to the expansion, the Main Street District extended as far west as West Fourth Street, as far east as East Fourth Street, as far north as North Third Avenue and as far south as South Second Avenue. About a dozen of the buildings in that district are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

With the expansion, Main Street can now include Best Western Holiday Manor, Fareway, Lions Gate Apartments, Newton Public Library and Sign Pro, among other entities, in its district. Of course the largest additions to the expansion are DMACC and Legacy Plaza.

Yeager presented the news to the city council during its meeting on Dec. 6. In a presentation, Yeager said the district has three goals: to amplify the area’s historic beauty, create a healthy business climate and establish it as a hub of economic activity and community connection.

Since its inception, Main Street Iowa programs have helped several communities by creating more than 5,000 downtown businesses and assisting nearly 13,000 building improvement projects. Main Street Iowa also provides training, leadership development and technical assistance opportunities.

By expanding the Newton Main Street district, Yeager said it will help change the city’s identity as a “bedroom community.” Instead, Yeager wants to see Newton become a destination. Main Street and Legacy Plaza can do just that, she said. The town is already making those strides to become a destination, too.

Yeager said there are 20 places for people to visit and shop in downtown Newton. With the amount of retailers and small businesses in the area, visitors can make the town a destination “for an entire day.” They can spend most of the day downtown, she said, and then spend an evening over at Legacy Plaza.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig has a strong passion for community journalism and covers city council, school board, politics and general news in Newton, Iowa and Jasper County.