Newton Hopes for New Downtown - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Newton Hopes for New Downtown

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Addie Olson

aolson@myabc5.com

@addieolson

The Iowa Economic Development Authority revamps the downtown districts of communities each year.

Sixty-eight towns are already part of what they call Main Street Iowa. Right now the town of Newton is working on their application.

The IEDA told Newton this is not an easy task. They'll need a lot of money and a lot of volunteers, but after losing Maytag back in 2007, the community said they're ready for a comeback.

The Newton Chamber of Commerce wants to give their town square a facelift.

"Our downtown has been one of those areas that's needed some TLC, it needs some help," said Darrell Sarmento, the executive director of the chamber.

First, they need some help from the community.

"We have to get all hands on deck to show that we're really ready to utilize all that the Main Street program has to offer," Sarmento said.

The program offers a revamp of the downtown area and the preservation of some of its history.

Dawn Bleeker knows a few things about the history of Capitol Theatre in the town square.

"We have a lot of original everything in here," she said of the building. "It opened up in 1922 as a Vaudeville Theatre."

Dawn owns and operates the theatre. She knows firsthand how important it is to keep local businesses rolling.

"Business owners from a small town, I mean this is their livelihood also," Bleeker said.

Newton needs to find enough money and volunteers before they can fill empty store fronts and preserve history as a Main Street Community.

Both Dawn and the Chamber would like to see that happen.

"There's just so much character here in the downtown area. It would just be neat just to beautify it," Bleeker said.

"We're ready to move forward with our downtown and we're anxious to see that happen," said Sarmento.

The city just began the application process. They'll formally submit their application in December, and in January they'll present for the committee.

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