The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) awarded Uptown Marion – A Main Street Iowa District a $75,000 Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant for the Kuba-Kurtz Buildings. Located at 1038 and 1048 7th Avenue, the Kuba-Kurtz Buildings face City Square Park and back into the ImaginArt in the Alleys site. The buildings will undergo front façade enhancements to create continuity between both storefronts while maintaining beautiful historic details. The back facade will feature an open air patio and a glass enclosed area that will face the revitalized alley. A vacant upstairs apartment will also receive updates, and the entire first floor will undergo a complete renovation to allow for the introduction of a new, locally owned establishment: Brick Alley Pub & Sports Bar. Commercial developer and building owner Arnold Property Group, LLC joined representatives from Uptown Marion to accept the award in Des Moines on Tuesday, November 29, 2016. Thirteen other Main Street Iowa Communities also received Iowa Challenge Grants.
“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 downtown buildings create opportunities for new business and new residences in the core of our communities.”
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 bricks and mortar projects is over $3.7 million.
“Each project must provide at least a dollar-for-dollar cash-match for each of the grants,” explained Main Street Iowa State Coordinator Michael Wagler. “Overall, these projects will leverage four times the state’s investment into bricks and mortar rehabilitation and technical services. These projects will have a significant economic impact within each district and they will have a direct impact on each community’s downtown revitalization efforts.”
The Challenge Grant program is funded through an appropriation from the Iowa Legislature. Since the first appropriation in 2002 through 2015, approximately $6.8 million in state and federal funds have leveraged over $45 million of private reinvestment. Over the life of the program, 124 projects in 47 Main Street Iowa commercial districts across the state have received funding.