Jefferson Selected for Main Street Challenge Grant
Members of Jefferson Matters: Main Street receive a check from IEDA and Iowa Main Street.
December 14, 2016
The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) on Tuesday awarded $965,500 in Main Street Iowa Challenge grants to 14 communities around the state. The grants will benefit local improvement projects such as façade upgrades and restoration, upper floor rehabilitation, building stabilization and repairs and remodeled spaces for expanding downtown businesses. The announcements were made during a ceremony held at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden.
Included is a $74,500 grant for work on the Kendall building (formerly Linda’s Fashions) on the south side of the courthouse square in Jefferson. The city of Jefferson expects to approve a development agreement with Ray and Rosie Tucker so that they can “occupy” the building, according to Jefferson city administrator Mike Palmer. With the development agreement in place, the city will be able to use tax increment financing for rehabilitating the building. The city budgeted $150,000 for rehabilitation and has spent $45,000.
Palmer told the county supervisors earlier this month that money from the Challenge grant will go toward windows. Palmer expects the total spent on the project to exceed $150,000, but the Main Street funds will keep the city’s investment within the budgeted amount.
Tuckers will be responsible for work on the second floor apartment. They plan to have retail space on the ground floor.
Total cost of the rehabilitation project is $274,500.
“The Main Street Iowa Challenge grants have proven to be catalysts for the revitalization of Iowa’s historic main streets,” said IEDA director Debi Durham at the award ceremony. “These projects represent the ongoing commitment the people of our state – both our elected officials and private citizens — have to the revitalization of our historic downtown districts. Rehabilitated downtown buildings create opportunities for new business and new residences in the core of our communities.”
The grants are administered through IEDA’s Iowa Downtown Resource Center and Main Street Iowa programs. The funding will be distributed in the form of matching grants to the selected Main Street programs. The estimated total project cost of the 14 bricks and mortar projects is more than $3.7 million.
“Each project must provide at least a dollar-for-dollar cash-match for each of the grants,” explained Main Street Iowa state coordinator Michael Wagler. “Overall, these projects will leverage four times the state’s investment into bricks and mortar rehabilitation and technical services. These projects will have a significant economic impact within each district and they will have a direct impact on each community’s downtown revitalization efforts.”
The Challenge Grant program is funded through an appropriation from the Iowa Legislature. Since the first appropriation in 2002 through 2015, approximately $6.8 million in state and federal funds have leveraged more than $45 million of private reinvestment. Over the life of the program, 124 projects in 47 Main Street Iowa commercial districts across the state have received funding.
Technical assistance grants- The agency also awarded an additional $61,000 in technical assistance grants to 12 Main Street Iowa communities.
Jefferson received a $5,000 grant for wayfinding signage. It will allow Jefferson Matters, the city of Jefferson and the Greene County Chamber of Commerce to move forward with a project started more than two years ago to develop a new “brand” and wayfinding signage for the city. The grant will fund professional design services for the project.
The $5,000 match comes from the hotel/motel tax fund.
The technical assistance grants will provide professional services to develop projects such as historic research, architectural and engineering services and community and business sign programs. The grants represent a total investment of more $250,000 in professional services provided to the selected communities.