Main Street communities awarded for outstanding achievements

·3 min read

Apr. 29—Newton Main Street and Colfax Main Street received high honors during the annual Main Street Iowa Development Awards celebration on April 21 at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in Des Moines. The program regularly honors the efforts of those who work tirelessly to revitalize their districts.

Colfax Main Street received the Best Business Support Award (for a community with a population under 5,000 people) for its project to save the town's historic pharmacy, which has since been renovated into Spring City Pharmacy. The new business opened in May 2022 with much support from the community.

Spring City Pharmacy is owned by Brenda Tjaden, Brad Magg and Brittney Van Houweling, according to past reporting by the Jasper County Tribune. The pharmacy invokes the same, old-time atmosphere with its soda fountain, historic architecture and selection of merchandise.

In addition to the business support honor, Colfax Main Street received a Leadership Award for the Colfax-Mingo High School's Generation On students and the outstanding volunteer work in the downtown district. The following individuals were recognized for the award:

CMHS Generation On students Emmalyn Buchman, Selena Lopez, Charlotte Donahue, Holland Robinette, Cael Duffy; Generation On sponsor Korie Whiteman; Spring City Pharmacy's Brad Magg, Brenda Tjaden, TJ Tjaden, Brittney Van Houweling, Vance Van Houweling, Dannette Fahrney, Eric Fahrney, Shaylee Shendenhelm; Dave Van Dusseldorp, Colfax Main Street President Cindy Van Dusseldorp, and Colfax Main Street Executive Director Stuart Patterson represented Colfax Main Street.

Newton Main Street received the Main Street Facade Improvement Award for the work on the Wormhoudt Building at 115-118 W. Second St. N., which was completed by Jerry Schwaller of Ex Nihilo, LLC. The building is located on the west side of the town square.

According to information sent to the Newton Daily News by Newton Main Street, the upper facade of the building was covered with a synthetic stucco material and the storefront was boxed in with metal siding many years ago. The building has a classic, streamlined, stripped commercial mid-century design.

When the stucco began to peel, property owners worked with Newton Main Street, the Newton Historic Preservation Commission and the Main Street Iowa design team to create a plan to address it and create a quality design that would also reduce long-term maintenance issues.

The end product brought the building back to its original appearance by removing the stucco, restoring the brick on the upper facade and rebuilding the storefront layout. Transformative details were added through awnings, signage and decorative lighting. The project cost more than $50,000.

The following individuals were present to receive the award: Erin Yeager, executive director of Newton Main Street; Laurie Moffitt, board president of Newton Main Street; Melissa Dalton, city council member; Lecia Downs, treasurer of Newton Main Street; Tanya Michener, past board president of Newton Main Street; Craig Armstrong of City of Newton; Jerry Schwaller, building owner winner; Greg Shwaller; Joan Christenson; and Dean Reed.

Of course, the Newton-based organization also received a Leadership Award, which was bestowed to Tanya Michener. In addition to her role as associate director of Newton Development Corporation, Yeager said she is also a vital member of the Newton Main Street team.

"She is passionate about volunteering which is essential to improving Newton," Yeager said. "Her passion shines to make her community a better place by continuing to increase economic development, all while having historic preservation at the forefront."

From left: Michael Wagler, Main Street Iowa state coordinator; Tanya Michener, past board president of Newton Main Street; Erin Yeager, executive director of Newton Main Street; and Debi Durham, executive director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) and Iowa Finance Authority (IFA), pose for a photo during the Main Street Iowa Development Awards on April 21 in Des Moines. Michener was awarded for her leadership.