Cedar Falls, Iowa

Iowa | 2002 Great American Main Street Award® Winner | Posted: 4/8/2002

Like many American communities, Cedar Falls lost jobs during the 1980s, as the farm economy failed and factories closed or laid off workers. By 1987, Cedar Falls' historic business district was nearly vacant. Although committed to their downtown business district, the community struggled with a long-term revitalization plan.

At the center of the effort that brought the community back was the Cedar Falls Community Main Street program. It has grown to include downtown merchants, lifelong residents, and newcomers who have discovered the newly preserved and revitalized community. The organization was a successful catalyst for inter-agency partnerships and the lead economic development partner in the community. Long-range planning and preservation initiatives provided vision that led to the current economic expansion.

Today, only two storefronts are empty, both pending new business, 299 buildings have been renovated or rehabilitated, over $14 million of private money has been invested, and 210 new jobs have been created.