What’s going on downtown?

The most common question I get asked is, “What’s going on in the downtown?”

There is an abundance of exciting things in the works. All of these individual “things” add up to be impactful to the quality of life. There are projects that started in the fall that will finish this summer, and there are some projects that will begin this spring and finish this fall.

One of my personal favorite bigger projects is geared toward further revitalization efforts, with any luck to begin in the spring of 2022. It’s a favorite because I can envision the outcome. It takes time and a lot of collaborative team work, by volunteers and paid professionals, to make downtown a place to live, work, dine, play and stay.

While we work on long-term goals, there are more immediate developments in the works. Vaccinations are steadily increasing, and with an understanding that some are ready to start having events, the Marshalltown Central Business District Promotions Team, has been working up a schedule of events. In mid-April, the public can look forward to the MCBD Storybook Walk, in collaboration with the Marshalltown Public Library. It is geared to encourage families to enjoy the pages of a bilingual book. The month of May anticipates a family game night in downtown Marshalltown. In August, the MCBD will host a summer block party to incorporate the nostalgia of Ridiculous Days. Planning has started for the fall.

Our Design Team has geared up for the return of the flower baskets. They have been on the search for volunteers to help with the daily watering of the 96 flower baskets that will line both sides of Main Street from Third Street to Third Avenue. The Design Team has been eager to get two dates, and possibly a third one on the calendar for “Team Up to Clean Up” downtown. We need volunteers to invest their time in both of these efforts.

There are several downtown building owners that will finish up and start façade rehabilitation projects this spring or summer. I have seven project files on my desk, and a handful of others I expect to see. There are also three new building owners in the downtown who have already started or will start the remodel of their recently acquired properties. It’s going to be exciting to see the transformation of all the buildings.

There is a collaborative effort to submit an application to the Iowa Economic Development Authority for a block grant to revitalize a qualifying portion of downtown Marshalltown. With partnering organizations, we have been working with eight building owners and an architect firm to create a $1.2 million historic scope of work. We will submit this spring, and will find out this fall if our downtown community is awarded the grant funding, with construction to begin in 2022.

As an organization, being able to collaborate and work with the “Believers & Doers of Marshalltown” is an absolutely stellar experience. Too often we think of investment as fiduciary, however, it’s also time, talent and passion. This community has phenomenal people who are fully invested in Marshalltown’s future. I invite you to come downtown to shop, dine and play. While you are here, take notice of all the investment and revitalization efforts then tell your friends they need to come see what’s going on.


Deb Millizer is the executive director of the

Marshalltown Central Business District.


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