Chamber to host town hall meeting to discuss Main Street Iowa project

Published: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 12:41 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 12:42 p.m. CDT

The Newton Chamber of Commerce will host a town hall meeting to further explore the community’s interest in becoming a Main Street Iowa community.

Darrell Sarmento, executive director of the Newton Chamber of Commerce, said the meeting is part of the exploration process prior to applying for the program. Michael Wagler, the head of Main Street Iowa, will be the featured guest at the town hall meeting which will take place Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Park Centre.

Sarmento said that if Newton proceeds with the process, there is substantial fundraising to be done but that the benefits will outweigh that cost.

“When you become a Main Street Community, there’s a lot of resources available,” Sarmento said.

Some of these benefits include federal grants and other funding that will help improve Newton’s downtown. After this meeting, Sarmento and others plan to visit other towns that are already part of the program.

Sarmento said three of the towns that he plans to visit — Oskaloosa, Marshalltown and Colfax — have benefited from the program by having a better cosmetic appearance which includes the addition of benches, facades and attention to downtown buildings’ details.

Preliminary discussions that Sarmento has had with citizens have been positive, he said. He believes that community support is high, and hopes that people will come to the town hall meeting to learn more about the program and the benefits it could potentially bring to Newton’s downtown.

“We want to make it clear that if you care about the future of downtown Newton then this meeting is for you,” Sarmento said.

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