The U.S. Department of Transportation is giving Dubuque more than five million dollars to revitalize the city’s historic Millwork District. Dubuque’s Millwork District is a collection of old, mostly vacant warehouses in the downtown. Mayor Roy Buol says the long-term plan is to redevelop the area into a mix of retail and housing space.

Buol says: “This is going to be really key in getting that project moving. We’re very hopeful we can have the first building under reconstruction here within a few months and get some of that workforce housing that we desperately need in our downtown with all the job creation that’s taking place.” The new federal grant will primarily go toward upgrading the district’s streets.

He says the streets and the infrastructure beneath the streets are key to getting the project off the ground. Buol hopes others will look to what they are doing as a guide.”It’s really, I think, going to be a model for redevelopment of these types of areas across the country when it’s completed and that’s our goal is to create that model of redevelopment, historic redevelopment, in our downtown, ” Buol says.

Computer maker I.B.M opened facilities a few blocks away from the Millwork District last year that created about 13-hundred jobs. That’s generated a housing shortage and Buol says redeveloping the downtown with more housing is crucial to the economy and the city’s long-term sustainability.