Organizational structure and support to established businesses were two aspects emphasized to having a prosperous downtown at Stuart’s downtown walk around event Tuesday.

The Stuart Enterprise for Economic Development and City of Stuart’s Economic Development Director Kristen Renslow coordinated this assessment visit from the Iowa Downtown Resource Center. Iowa Downtown Resource Center Design Specialist Maia Fiala-Jessen and Main Street Woodbine Executive Director Deb Sprecker met with local leaders and walked downtown Stuart Tuesday morning. The visit concluded with a public presentation in the City Hall Council Chamber, in which the two women shared what they saw as strengths and things to improve on based on their short visit.

Fiala-Jessen complimented the City on the quality of downtown and the buildings available for use, “In addition to that you guys are open to trying new things. A lot of communities that are struggling, they’re not getting fresh ideas they’re not doing new things so by doing these new events downtown and the wine walk and Scoop the Loop and some things you know you’re trying which is huge because a lot of people just don’t even try.”

Fiala-Jessen also mentioned that while many communities like Stuart are interested in attracting new business, she stressed that the first priority should be maintaining current business. This could include giving small grants to businesses doing aesthetic improvements. The assessment team also commented that while it looks like Stuart community leaders work hard, they should also work smart, creating defining missions for each organization and seeking to include new residents into these groups. The Iowa Downtown Resource Center plans to send a written summary of their visit to the City of Stuart for its future planning efforts.