MCBD will move forward without SSMID

The Marshalltown Central Business District (MCBD) has been a Main Street program since 2002. MCBD works to improve business relations, beautify downtown and restore buildings. To expand and increase programs, a SSMID was suggested to fund these specific efforts. While the SSMID was stopped by opposition from 40 percent of downtown property owners, MCBD continues to work with all downtown stakeholders. As we look at other funding options, some misconceptions remain about MCBD funding sources and use.

Seventy-five percent of the budget is fund raised annually. The city has allocated $24,000 annually since 2002 with no increase. Memberships, pledges, events and fundraisers are primary funders. Ten to 20 grants are written as well, though none of these grant funds cover administrative expenses or operating costs. The city allocates $60,000 yearly for façade improvement and building code upgrades — managed by MCBD. Twenty-two downtown buildings have been renovated using these grants. More than 60,000 volunteer hours water flower baskets, serve committees and help with every MCBD project. MCBD programming would NOT be possible without volunteers. These volunteers need the support and coordination of our full-time director to be successful. Downtown has seen major renovations and significant investment such as restorations of the Kibbey Building and Gallery Garden, Tallcorn Tower, Senior Residences (Iowa Wholesale building), and McGregors building façade. Our director’s efforts were critical in these projects and other downtown programs.

Through surveys, discussions and forums with downtown business owners and community members, MCBD created a framework for additional downtown investment within the capabilities and scope of the organization. This included a comprehensive retail marketing campaign, improved wayfinding and parking signage, and improved business recruitment tools. The SSMID funding combined with the expertise, passion and coordination of the MCBD would have made those plans possible.

Though the SSMID will not be, MCBD has started a new strategic plan taking into consideration all concerns voiced in the process with contributions from downtown businesses and property owners, private donations, the community, and support from the city being integral.

Thank you to the SSMID supporters and volunteers. The SSMID brought out the passion of downtown property owners which MCBD will harness to continue to build and improve the downtown. It will take longer to move forward with new initiatives and programs without a SSMID, but MCBD is confident we will succeed.

We look forward to this increased support from the property owners and the community.