The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) today awarded $924,000 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 and remodeled spaces for expanding downtown businesses. The announcement was made during a ceremony held at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden today.
“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. “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 buildings create opportunities for new business in Iowa communities, and new businesses mean new jobs.”
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 projects is over $8 million.
“Each project must provide at least a dollar-for-dollar cash-match,” explained Main Street Iowa State Coordinator Michael Wagler. “Overall, these projects will leverage eight times the state’s investment into bricks and mortar rehabilitation. These projects will have a significant economic impact within each district.”
The Challenge Grant program is funded through an appropriation from the Iowa Legislature. Since the first appropriation in 2002 through 2014, approximately $5.9 million in state and federal funds have leveraged over $37 million of private reinvestment into 110 projects in 43 Main Street Iowa commercial districts across the state.