The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) today announced awards for seven communities to rehabilitate buildings in their downtowns. Derek Lord, with the IEDA, says the federally-funded Community Development Block Grants total $3.5 million, or $500,000 for each town.
The communities receiving the funds are Burlington, Charles City, Conrad, Elkader, Emmetsburg, Manning and West Union. The funds are targeted primarily toward improving the outward appearance of a combined 144 buildings.
“Each community submitted an application showing the partnerships they built with the property owners and local organizations to renovate the facades of privately owned downtown businesses,” Lord said. The funds announced today , in some cases, will help finance an almost complete transformation of a city’s downtown properties.
“In some of the cities, if you look at the size of the awards…22 to 24 buildings is sometimes 75 to 80% of all the commercial buildings in the downtown. So, this program can practically transform the physical appearance of a downtown overnight,” Lord said.
The Community Development Block Grant Downtown Revitalization Program was launched in Iowa in 2009. To date, the program has helped 19 cities and towns rehabilitate nearly 350 downtown properties.