Our Town Mount Vernon-Lisbon: Main Street Community

By Travis Bockenstedt, Our Town Producer

MOUNT VERNON - The state of Iowa recently designated Mount Vernon as a Main Street Community. Its an honor only a few communities receive each year.

Karla Steffens-Moran loves shopping on main Street Mount Vernon.
Today she's getting a drink at Fuel, the local coffee shop.

"One of the things I think is so wonderful about this uptown is the fact there is a great deal of diversity. Everything that I need we have. Over across the street is Big Creek. It has organic foods. You know, how many small town have that?" said Steffens-Moran.

"It's not Disneyland, it's a real place. I live here, I shop here. It means something to me, my kids are growing up here," said Steffens-Moran.

A few years ago Karla read about Iowa's Main Street Program.
She decided her community should apply for the award. Becoming a designated Main Street Iowa Community is no easy task, and the application process took nearly a year.

"Their mission statement, economic development within the context of historic preservation was arguably the best thing we could focus on here in this town," said Steffens-Moran.

Each community receives points based on issues such as readiness, historic preservation, and organization. To the groups surprise, they received a nomination for Main Street.

"We are a tremendously passionate group and we certainly have our work cut out for us and there are times when its truly overwhelming because there is so much training," said Steffens-Moran.

Group members attended Main Street University where they learned promotion, organization, design, and economic development. Karla hopes these skills, combined with an energetic group of volunteers will help sustain the place she and others are proud to call home.

"And I feel when we get in the car given the cost of gas, I want to feel like we've gone some place. I want my son to see that we've gone some place. And when they come here to Mount Vernon, I want them to see that they've gone some place," said Steffens-Moran.
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