The Hilltop Campus Village (HCV) in Davenport received some “rave reviews” during a visit last week from a Main Street organization representative, according to Molly Otting Carlson, HVC executive director.
A top official with Main Street America conducted a “partnership visit” of the HVC on Thursday, Aug. 18, to get a look at the area and offer a few tips for improvements.
Main Street America is an organization that helps revitalize older and historic commercial districts to build vibrant neighborhoods and thriving economies, according to the group’s website. The HCV is an accredited Main Street member.
“We want to understand the needs of the community … and offer some advice,” Kathy La Plante, senior program officer and director of Main Street America’s coordinating program services, said during a tour of several Hilltop businesses.
The visit turned out to be about 12 hours of meetings, talks and a tour of Davenport. Some of the visits included one to a new storefront business in the works – Life Breads Gluten-Free Bakery, which is scheduled to open this fall at 1509 N. Harrison St.; as well as Rapheal’s Emporium at 628 N. Harrison St.; and a visit with Robbie Wolfe, one of the stars of the History Channel TV show “American Pickers.”
Mr. Wolfe, who has a shop at 330 W. Fifth Ave. filled with his unique antique items, talked with Ms. La Plante about doing business in the community.
“We squeezed in a lot today. … I see they are doing a lot of great things,” Ms. La Plante said about the day of touring.
The Main Street America official added that she is impressed with the fact that HCV is working on a strategic economic plan. A couple of the tips she offered to the Hilltop is to form connections with students and parents from the local colleges, and “focus on what makes you different to look at marketing opportunities.”
Ms. Carlson added that she was pleased with the full day of meeting and touring, and looks forward to the full report from Main Street America that will come later.
“It went really well. I think we got some rave reviews,” she added.
Last week, Ms. Carlson also confirmed to the QCBJ that talks are underway to change the name and branding of the HVC. She could not offer any details or a potential new name of the organization as the potential changes are still in the discussion stages.
The HCV Main Street district’s performance is annually evaluated by Main Street Iowa, which works in partnership with Main Street America to identify the local programs that meet 10 national performance standards.
Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building meaningful and sustainable revitalization programs and include standards such as, fostering strong public-private partnerships, documenting programmatic progress, and actively revitalizing historic buildings.
“The ability for a local Main Street program to consistently incorporate fresh ideas and new leadership perspectives into the revitalization process helps ensure a vibrant future for the community’s economic opportunities,” said Michael Wagler, Main Street Iowa State coordinator. “This visit focused on partnerships and enhancing local communication that are the foundation for a strong local development effort.”
Main Street Iowa is a program of the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Iowa Downtown Resource Center. Main Street Iowa exists to improve the social and economic well-being of Iowa’s communities by assisting selected communities to capitalize on the unique identity, assets and character of their historic commercial district.
Main Street is economic development within the context of historic preservation. In addition to a revitalization framework, Main Street Iowa also provides technical assistance services to communities who made the revitalization of their downtown or traditional commercial district an economic development priority.
For more information, visit www.iowaeda.com/main-street-iowa.