Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant Recipient – Le Mars, Iowa

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Credit: Shari Sitzmann – Super Photographer

Recently I published a post about the Main Street Iowa Challenge Grants. Early in November the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) awarded $950,000 to 13 communities around that state for local improvement projects. One of the recipients was One Office Solution in Le Mars, Iowa.

One Office Solution received a $75,000 grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority. As the Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant is a 50/50 grant, applicants must submit at least an amount of funds that matches the grant request. The City of Le Mars agreed put in half of the required $75,000 match. Whereas One Office Solution owners Steve and Heidi McNally paid the remainder of the match and the rest of the project costs ($302,500).

Credit: Shari Sitzmann – Super Photographer

The funds raised will be applied to the construction costs of converting the upper level of their building into four apartments. As interest in walkability has increased once more downtown residential spaces above commercial have resurrected their popularity. This also provides another housing choice beyond the typical suburban-style apartment complexes or run-down single-family homes. Too often these two housing types represent the only rental housing choices in many smaller towns.

Since the first appropriation in 2002, approximately $9.6 million in state and federal funds have leveraged more than $57 million in private investment. Over the life of the program, 165 projects in 53 Main Street Iowa districts across the state have received funding.

KLEM 1410, a local radio station, has more on the award, including audio bytes from those involved in the project.

Grant opportunities like the Main Street Iowa Challenge Grants are an ideal way improve your downtown. Most of the grants awarded include a significant match from the property owner, in addition to the state funds. This level of buy-in from your community does not go unnoticed. The impact rolls over to nearby property owners who often show a renewed interest in their own properties.