The Downtown Issaquah Association (DIA) has been designated as an accredited Main Street America™ program for meeting rigorous performance standards set by the National Main Street Center. Each year, the National Main Street Center and its Coordinating Program partners announce the list of accredited Main Street America programs in recognition of their exemplary commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization through the Main Street Approach®.
Once again, we are thrilled to recognize this year’s nationally accredited Main Street America communities for their outstanding work,” says Patrice Frey, President & CEO of the National Main Street Center. “We are experiencing an exciting era for America’s cities and towns, with a growing recognition of the importance of strong local enterprise, distinctive character, engaged residents, and sense of place. These are things that Main Street America programs have been working to protect and advance for years, strengthening the economic, social, and cultural fabric of communities across the country.”
The organization’s performance is annually evaluated by DAHP (Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation) which works in partnership with the National Main Street Center to identify the local programs that meet ten performance standards. Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, securing an operating budget, tracking programmatic progress and actively preserving historic buildings.
It’s the mission of DIA to enhance the vitality of historic downtown Issaquah through events and programs. Since Karen Donovan came on board five years as Executive Director of the DIA has tripled its funding, it has increased the number of annually events to 28, and has created strong partnerships throughout the community. Those fostered partnerships and community events, like Fenders on Front Street Car Show, ArtWalk, and the Gas Station Blues Series bring thousands of people every year who explore, enjoy, and spend money with our downtown businesses. On top of that over 600 community volunteers help out at DIA events.
“We’re very proud of the vitality our organization has been able to bring to the downtown with Karen Donovan as our Executive Director,” states DIA President Keith Watts, “and we’re very grateful for the support of the City and of so many individuals in our community. It’s because of that support we’ve been able to successfully reach our goals and will continue to improve the vitality and the beauty of Issaquah’s Cultural Business District.”
Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for more than 35 years. Today, it is a network of more than 1,000 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Since 1980, communities participating in the program have leveraged more than $65.6 billion in new public and private investment, generated 556,960 net new jobs and 126,476 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 260,000 buildings. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.