Main Street Coon Rapids (MSCR) received top honors for their Downtown Dash and Dine event from Main Street Iowa (MSI) at their annual Development Awards celebration Friday, April 21. In addition, Brenda Schlatter and Holly Alex of Coon Rapids were recognized for their leadership in crafting last fall’s Downtown Harvest Party.
s a huge honor to receive a state-wide award for our work in Coon Rapids,” said MSCR Executive Director Katie Mason. “The entire Downtown Dash and Dine team, Brenda and Holly were very worthy of the recognition they received. I am very proud to work with these amazing volunteers in our community.”
The awards program honors the efforts of those who work tirelessly to revitalize Iowa’s downtowns and to make a difference in the state’s Main Street districts. It was held at Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in Des Moines.
MSCR’s Downtown Dash and Dine won the state’s Special Event Project (in communities under 5,000 in population) award. Accepting the award on behalf of MSCR were Quinn and Terry Wurzer, Jen and Bryan Spangler, Savannah Sease, Courtney Schroeder, Mason and Schlatter.
The Downtown Dash and Dine is an annual fundraising event that MSCR hosts at the Coon Rapids American Legion Labor Day weekend. The event starts early in the afternoon with a two-hour scavenger hunt. Teams are given a mix of 60 clues that can be found or done in Coon Rapids. The goal is to increase foot traffic in and out of the Main Street businesses in a fun and creative way. After the scavenger hunt, the second half of the event includes a social hour, dinner, live auction and dueling pianos. The event raised over $23,000 in 2021 and 2022 collectively.
“Special events are an important element to a local Main Street program’s economic development strategy,” said Main Street Iowa Downton Development Specialist Carol Lilly when she presented the award to MSCR. “Special events have the ability to attract people to the Main Street district, build the downtown’s image, and create a significant economic impact.”
Earlier in the evening, Schlatter and Alex were recognized on stage for their volunteer work with MSCR. They were nominated for the MSI Leadership award for the work they did organizing the breathtaking farm-to-table event last fall. The duo collaborated on the first Downtown Harvest Party in Coon Rapids. The event served locally sourced products cooked by local restaurants and Iowa-craft beers and wines for 200 people. Free to all MSCR volunteers and financial investors, the food was amazing, decorations outstanding and atmosphere absolutely enjoyable.
“Brenda and Holly paid special attention to every detail, letting their skills and creativity shine. The board unanimously voted to nominate them for this award,” said MSCR Director Katie Mason. “They are very deserving of the Leadership Award.”
Debi Durham, executive director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) and Iowa Finance Authority (IFA), and Michael Wagler, Main Street Iowa state coordinator, presented the honors.
“The Main Street Iowa program is a powerful economic development tool that has stood the test of time since its introduction in 1985,” Durham said. “We continue to see significant growth in businesses, jobs, and investment in communities of all sizes because of the program. As a result, these districts serve as inspiring examples of what’s possible for Iowa’s downtowns.”
“Main Street is grassroots economic development,” Wagler said. “It is inspiring to witness the impactful work of local Main Street program staff, volunteers, and community partners.”
In 1985, the Iowa Legislature adopted Main Street America’s Four Point Approach® to district revitalization by establishing Main Street Iowa within the agency that is now the IEDA. Since then, the Main Street Iowa program has had a significant impact on Iowa’s economy, including more than $2.6 billion in private investment, more than 3.7 million volunteer hours, more than 5,300 new businesses, and more than 16,000 jobs.
Main Street Coon Rapids was formed August 2019 when Coon Rapids was formally accepted into the Main Street Iowa program. Since then, they have recorded the following statistics: completed building projects 17; private money invested in projects $786,419; grants awarded $1,166,180.00, city contribution $105,000, buildings sold 18; volunteer hours 9,870.
TOP PHOTO: Main Street Iowa Coordinator Michael Wagler (far left) and Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham (far right) presented the Main Street Coon Rapids Downtown Dash and Dine team with the Special Event Project of the year award. Pictured from left: Wagler, Bryan Spangler, Quinn and Terry Wurzer, Katie Mason, Jen Spangler, Courtney Schroeder, Savannah Sease, Brenda Schlatter and Durham.
BOTTOM PHOTO:Main Street Iowa Coordinator Michael Wagler (far left) and Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham (far right) presented (from left) Brenda Schlatter and Holly Alex with the Leadership Award. Main Street Coon Rapids Director Katie Mason escorted them on stage.