Main Street Waterloo’s year of growth and revitalization

A vibrant transformation is underway, propelled by the collective efforts of passionate individuals, businesses, and community organizations. At the heart of these revitalization efforts is a dedicated nonprofit organization committed to cultivating a flourishing local economy and creating welcoming public spaces.

With the dedication and passion of our volunteers who tirelessly devote their time and energy, Main Street Waterloo is a beacon of community-driven revitalization. We create a sense of belonging and pride, transforming downtown into a dynamic hub where residents and visitors alike can live, work, and play with enthusiasm and vitality.

Through a synergistic blend of public and private collaborations and investments, a renaissance has been sparked, propelling the ongoing prosperity. Since 1996, over $145 million in private investment has reshaped the downtown landscape, redefining its boundaries and positioning it for sustained success in the years to come.

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In 2023, we embraced the arrival of nine new businesses. These newcomers seamlessly integrate with the existing fabric of the district, which boasts a diverse array of museums, eateries, and retail establishments. From the tantalizing flavors of authentic Mexican cuisine to the comforting familiarity of traditional American fare, the culinary scene in downtown caters to every palate. While the shopping landscape offers an eclectic mix, ranging from women’s apparel and locally crafted treasures to books, bicycles, and furniture, ensuring a fulfilling retail experience for all patrons.

Main Street Waterloo is proud to partner with the city of Waterloo, Waterloo Exchange Club, and Experience Waterloo on the Veterans Way banners. This display shares the community’s gratitude and remembrance with honoring veterans from Black Hawk County. The installation of these banners from Memorial Day through Veterans Day not only pays homage to the veterans’ contributions but also fosters a sense of pride and unity among residents, as we collectively honor those who have served.

The completion of Waterloo’s River Lights Experience marks a milestone in downtown’s journey towards revitalization and cultural enrichment. This project represents a collaborative effort between the city and community stakeholders, symbolizing the collective vision for a vibrant and dynamic waterfront. Funded 100% through private investment, Waterloo’s River Lights Experience not only serves as a beacon of beauty and innovation but also as a testament to the city’s unwavering commitment to creating memorable and immersive experiences for all.

Main Street Waterloo worked in collaboration with the city to help shape outdoor seating in downtown that will enhance its vibrancy and allure, and serve as a framework for fostering an inviting atmosphere. The innovative spirit has led to the development of a pioneering parklet program set to make its debut this year.

Last year saw the completion of the Sullivan Brothers Plaza and a series of historic renovations that breathed new life into the landscape, ushering in a wave of new residential units and storefronts.

Central to our mission, the Downtown IMPACT Grant is aimed at empowering local businesses. Last year, the inaugural grant was awarded to Gray Lane Yoga, facilitating the establishment of an aerial yoga studio and bungee fitness – the area’s first of its kind. The transformative impact of this grant is evident in the studio’s remarkable growth.

Building on this success, the 2023 grant was bestowed upon Try Pie, enabling them to integrate a cold storage delivery vehicle into their business model. Such strategic investments not only catalyze economic growth, but also nurture entrepreneurship and innovation.

The vibrancy of our downtown is seen in its beauty, diversity, activities, art and innovation. I am proud of what downtown Waterloo has accomplished, and excited for what is yet to come.

Jessica Rucker is executive director of Main Street Waterloo.

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10 thoughts on “Main Street Waterloo’s year of growth and revitalization

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