The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) awarded Uptown Marion – A Main Street Iowa District a $75,000 Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant for the Park Place Building. Located at 1107 7th Avenue, The Park Place is a historic landmark in the heart of Uptown Marion. As the first brick building of its size, it has been a landmark building since its construction in 1860. Originally built as a hotel in the upper stories and retail on the main floor, many of the original details can be seen in the hotel lobby off 11th street and back spiral staircase. Challenge grant dollars will go towards the restoration of these historic characteristic and redevelopment of the upper floor into 3 loft residential living spaces. Building owner Kim Johnson joined representatives from Uptown Marion to accept the award in Des Moines on Wednesday, November 15, 2017. Thirteen other Main Street Iowa Communities also received Iowa Challenge Grants. This is Uptown Marion’s 4th Challenge Grant Award since becoming a state certified Main Street in 2013. Other projects include the Memorial Building (Uptown Snug), Kuba-Kurtz Building (Brick Alley Pub & Sports Bar), and Cobban-Hervey Building (Urban Pie & Anderson Bogert).
“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 demonstrate the ongoing financial commitment the people of our state – both our elected officials and private citizens – have made 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 $2.7 million.
“Each project must provide at least a dollar-for-dollar cash-match. In total, these projects will leverage three times the state’s investment into bricks and mortar rehabilitation. These projects will also have a significant economic impact within each district and have a direct impact on each community’s downtown revitalization efforts,” explained Main Street Iowa State Coordinator Michael Wagler.
The Challenge Grant program is funded through an appropriation from the Iowa Legislature. Since the first appropriation in 2002 through 2016, approximately $6.8 million in state and federal funds have leveraged over $45 million of private reinvestment. Over the life of the program, 138 projects in 49 Main Street Iowa commercial districts across the state have received funding.