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About Main Street Charles City

Working together to make a difference in our community

Main Street Charles City is an organization supported by local investors and volunteers who strive to enhance the downtown district to make it the place to be. We are an affiliate of the Main Street Iowa program and utilize the proven Main Street 4-Point Approach to revitalize our downtown district.

Originally established in 1994 under the name “Community Revitalization,” the Main Street Charles City program was the result of a community-wide visioning session designed to help Charles City assess where it was and where it wanted to go. The city was facing a negative outlook and attitude following the closing of its longtime anchor industry, the White Farm-New Idea tractor plant, as well as a decline in retailers and population. Something was needed to rally and revitalize the community.

Charles City applied for, and was accepted, as a Main Street Iowa demonstration community in 1994 and given an opportunity to prove that it was serious about doing what it takes to become a certified Main Street Iowa program. Events and activities were created to bring people together and to re-instill a sense of town pride. Incentives were offered for physical improvements in the downtown district and projects initiated to enhance the downtown district and quality of life.

In 1996, those efforts paid off as Charles City was accepted as the 28th official Main Street Iowa community and has been re-accredited every year since. Charles City has become a showplace community with innovative initiatives and a progressive, “can do” attitude that has helped earn it such honors as a two-time Great American Main Street Award semi-finalist; “Iowa Great Places” designation; 2012 Iowa River Town of the Year; a 2012 All-Star Community; and two-time America in Bloom national champion for overall community beautification.

Main Street Charles City is under the direction of a 9-member Board of Directors and employs three full-time staff members that are shared with the Charles City Area Chamber of Commerce. What truly powers the program, though, are the ideas and efforts of our volunteer community. Through 2021, Charles City has logged more than 182,000 volunteer hours since the Main Street Charles City program was established. Young and old, big and small, and with a wide range of skill sets – or just a desire to help make a difference – our volunteers are our lifeblood. They decide our goals and priorities, and by working together or with other community partners are the ones that really make things happen!

Main Street Charles City is open to any and all interested in getting involved, giving back or just wanting to make a difference in our community – and has shown time and again that together we can!

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