Main Street Iowa Challenge Grants Announce Recent Awards

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In early November the Iowa Economic Development Authority awarded 13 Main Street Iowa Challenge Grants worth $950,000. Main Street Iowa Challenge Grants are matching grants that go to help local main street building improvement projects.  Some of the grant funding from the latest round of awards will go towards upper story renovations, movie theater restoration and expansions, restaurant start-ups and improvements, critical building stabilization and facade restoration and upgrades. These Main Street Challenge Grants are administered through IEDA’s Iowa Downtown Resource Center and Main Street Iowa programs.

As stated by Iowa Economic Development Authority (IDEA) Director Debi Durham in IDEA’s press release, “The Main Street Iowa Challenge grants have proven to be catalysts for the revitalization of Iowa’s historic main streets. These projects demonstrate the ongoing commitment the people of our state have to keeping our downtowns vibrant, which helps attract new visitors, residents and businesses.”

Making an Impact

The estimated total project cost of these 13 projects is over $8.7 million. Which is an average of nearly $670,000 in investment into each community’s downtown.

Funding for the Challenge Grant program is provided through an appropriation from the Iowa Legislature.  Since the first appropriation in 2002, approximately $9.6 million in state and federal funds have been handed out. These funds have leveraged more than $57 million in private investment. Over the life of the program, 165 projects in 53 Main Street Iowa commercial districts across the state have received funding.

Greenfield Project Helps Oldest Building on the Square

C. A. Tucker [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

One of this year’s recipients, Greenfield Chamber/Main Street, received $75,000 for the rehabilitation of 358 Public Square. Greenfield Chamber/Main Street Director Stacie Hull provided more information on their project to KSOM, the local radio station:

“This is the oldest building on our square and it’s got an original boomtown front and it’s a wood structure. We don’t actually have a date on it but we know that it was moved to the square before 1886. It’s been vacant for several years and it just needed a lot of work being a wood structure,” said Hull. “A young couple had purchased it maybe two years ago and they have been slowly trying to do some of the work but the more they sort of peel off the layers of the onion the more they have found some much bigger things to tackle than they can maybe handle on their own.”

Local owners of the building have pledged to gather the remaining $87,600 to fund the improvements. With the approved funding, the owners of the establishment plan to undergo a total rehabilitation of the interior and exterior of the structure. A rendering of the facade improvements can be found in the awards presentation.

More Information

For more on the Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant Program, check out the informational page on And for more information on this year’s recipients, check out the project photos and presentations on the Iowa Economic Development website.