Central Avenue Corridor Initiative

The Central Avenue corridor connects Dubuque’s downtown and Historic Millwork District to the city’s North End. Central Avenue has historically been the “main street” for the Washington Neighborhood, one of Dubuque's oldest neighborhoods, and is lined with historic buildings offering commercial and retail opportunities on the ground floor and residential spaces on upper floors. 

Central Avenue Corridor Streetscape Master Plan. 

The Dubuque City Council made investing in the Central Avenue corridor a high priority, and sought to preserve the corridor's history and spur economic revitalization by developing a master plan. The City gathered public input regarding the current state of the area and potential improvements from Central Avenue Corridor stakeholders, including: business owners, employees, patrons, residents, landlords, social service agencies, community leaders, and partner agencies. Through neighborhood association meetings, open-house workshops, pop-up events, an online survey, and more, the public shared their vision for an improved Central Avenue corridor. Using the feedback shared, the City worked in conjunction with a consultant to develop the Central Avenue Corridor Streetscape Master Plan to address aesthetics and mobility in the corridor. 

Major Components 


The public expressed they wanted the improved corridor to embrace the neighborhood's history by preserving architecture and preventing gentrification, while also adding new "greener" landscaping and other welcoming elements to support economic vitality. The plan addresses remedies for Central Avenue corridor's current state of aesthetics, as well as provides guidelines for future improvements and redevelopment of public infrastructure elements within the corridor through recommended options for streetscape furnishings and landscaping.

The public also agreed that pedestrian-friendly streets and safety improvements are needed to better the corridor. Respondents spoke about creating streets that welcomed bus, bike, and car traffic in a safe and friendly manner. The plan explores the opportunity to transition Central Avenue from its current status as a one-way State highway to a pedestrian-friendly one-way or two-way city street. When the Northwest Arterial is completed, it will be the new designated commercial truck route in place of Central Avenue. This allows Central Avenue to be converted into a more useful city street in the near future.

Current Status

In January 2023, the Dubuque City Council adopted the Central Avenue Corridor Streetscape Master Plan. The City has budgeted $150,000 in the current fiscal year and $25,000 in FY2024 to make small aesthetic improvements on Central Avenue from 11th to 22nd street. Also included in the Engineering Department’s FY2023 5-year CIP budget is $400,000 for the design of streetscape/traffic improvements and $265,000 for a 2-Way Conversion Study for Central Avenue and White Street. This includes funding for a complete traffic study that will evaluate signalized intersections in the Corridor; identify improvements or modifications to support traffic demands; and to consider transit needs, bike and pedestrian needs, and sustainability.

Housing Investment Pilot Program

The City of Dubuque's Central Avenue Corridor Housing Investment Pilot Program aims to incentivize housing improvement and creation along the Central Avenue corridor. The program grants 10-year forgivable loans of $10,000 per unit to projects that add or improve quality, affordable residential housing choices on Central Avenue from 11th to 22nd street.

To be eligible for consideration for the program a project must:

  • Be within the Central Avenue Corridor and an urban renewal area.
  • Define a specific historic redevelopment project that includes at least one historical structure.
  • Provide significant, transformational improvement of a minimum of four affordable housing units or the creation of a minimum of four affordable housing units.
  • Represent a total capital investment of not less than $500,000, including purchase price of the property if not already owned at time of application.
  • Increase the assessed value of the property by at least 15%.
  • Agree that all improved or created housing units would not discriminate based on source of tenant’s income.

The goal of this initiative is the economic revitalization of the Central Avenue Corridor through community engagement, educational outreach, and community-informed storefront and streetscape design. Central Avenue Corridor stakeholders include business owners, employees, patrons, residents, landlords, social service agencies, community leaders, the City of Dubuque, and partner agencies.

Through major street and stormwater infrastructure improvements and work with our partners and the public, the Central Avenue Corridor is beginning to experience a renaissance. Continued asset mapping and business incentives for redevelopment hold promise of even greater transformation.