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Uptown Marion Main Street works to encourage improvement of the District’s physical appearance. In partnership with building owners, local government and a variety of local and state design experts, this committee focuses on projects in the following areas:

  • Design Guidelines Oversight
  • Prioritizing Public Improvements
  • Building Condition Analysis
  • Historic Preservation
  • Design Assistance
  • Development & Oversight of Local Preservation Ordinances
  • Design Education & Awareness
  • District Beautification

Buildings located within the Uptown Marion Main Street District are eligible to receive design assistance and architectural renderings at no cost from Design Experts at Main Street Iowa. In order to take advantage of these services, please contact us today!

Design Guidelines

Uptown Marion District design guidelines were developed to aid future development within the District by identifying desirable aesthetic qualities. These guidelines provide consistency and avoid arbitrary design, thereby giving the tools and advice needed to integrate new construction and remodeling into the surrounding community. Design guidelines introduce the Uptown Marion District community to the future, while maintaining its rich heritage.

Financial Opportunities

OVERVIEW

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) – Façade Improvement Program was developed by Iowa Economic Development Authority to spur economic development in the downtown areas of Iowa cities and towns.

The concept is that if assistance to building owners can be provided to get and keep buildings occupied, that the business community will prosper. The pay back to the Federal, State, and City governments lies in more retail sales, more employment, higher tax revenues, and overall healthier communities. The program only works if building and business owner participate fully and follow the project requirements.

AMOUNT AWARDED & TIMELINE

A $500,000 CBDG was awarded by Iowa Economic Development Authority on June 18, 2014. The Facade Improvement Program is to be concluded by June 30, 2017.

BUILDING PARTICIPANTS

  • 748 10th Street (Louie’s Scoreboard – BLDG 1)
  • 740 10th Street (Louie’s Scoreboard – BLDG 2)
  • 1060 7th Avenue (ReAlive BLDG)
  • 1104 7th Avenue (7th Avenue Antique Mall BLDG)
  • 660 & 684 10th Street (Masonic Temple BLDG)
  • 731 9th Street (JP Plumbing BLDG)
  • 1222 7th Avenue (Vball Gear BLDG)

PROGRAM PARTNERS

City of Marion
East Central Iowa Council of Governments (ECICOG)
Martin Gardner Architecture
Restoration Renaissance

CONTACT INFORMATION

Ashley Zierath, Director
Uptown Marion – A Main Street Iowa District
ashley@marioncc.org

OVERVIEW:
A state appropriation was made to the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) for the Main Street Program to assist participating cities improve the physical and economic health of their designated Main Street districts. This state appropriation will allow Main Street Iowa to offer matching Challenge Grants to participating communities for vertical infrastructure projects.

A maximum of $925,000 in funds will be awarded to eligible applicants for bricks and mortar projects within designated Main Street districts. Each program may receive a single award from this funding round. Only one application per program is allowed.

Main Street Iowa staff will review all applications for eligibility, project impact in designated Main Street district, design appropriateness, innovation and utilization of the Iowa Green Streets Criteria. Successful applicants will be notified in writing of the grant awards. All awarded projects must agree to provide Main Street Iowa with appropriate budgetary information and expenditures.

ELIGIBILITY:
Main Street Iowa communities with current contracts who are meeting all contractual obligations including National Main Street Accreditation once within the past three years will be considered eligible for the Main Street Grant funds. Eligible projects must be within the designated Main Street district. Only the Main Street organization in participating communities may submit applications on behalf of local projects, properties and businesses. Awards will be made to the applicant Main Street organization, hereafter referred to as the Grantee, for disbursements to locally designated grant beneficiaries. GRANT AMOUNTS: Maximum awards for this grant round will be $75,000. Minimum grants will be no less than $15,000. No program shall receive more than one award per application round.

APPLICATION DEADLINE:
The 2016 Challenge Grant Application should become available in July.

GRANT CRITERIA:
Grantee must show community support evidenced by the local contributing effort. Grantee or the grant beneficiary(s) must invest at a minimum a dollar for dollar cash match and must supply requested financial information to show that the match requirement is being satisfied. Grantee and all Grant Beneficiaries agree, to the best of their ability, to complete designated projects within 24 months of award notification or show just cause for the delay. Main Street Iowa communities in good standing with the program and in compliance with all contractual requirements from previously awarded funds if any, may apply on behalf of a property or project within the designated district. Only one submission per program, per round will be permitted.

ELIGIBLE PROJECTS:
Rehabilitation and/or restoration of privately held properties within the designated Main Street district. This can include, but is not limited to:

  • Façade improvements (Front, rear and side)
  • Upper floor interior rehabilitation
  • Structural repairs/improvements
  • Code compliance
  • First floor interior rehabilitation
  • Energy efficiency/sustainability improvements
  • Site amenities (Decks/patios/exterior spaces)
  • Single specific phase of a large rehab. The project must have a specific defined focus and clearly identifiable scope of work including start/end dates and milestones for completion.

Compatible new construction including building additions with first floor commercial and upper floor(s) commercial or residential within the designated Main Street district. Razing of an existing structure to allow for new construction will not be considered an eligible use of funds.

Multiple properties committed to a mutually agreed upon improvement or series of improvements located within the designated Main Street district. All multiple properties applications must be connected by a common need or issue that defines the scope/type of proposed project. For instance, a series of rear entrances visible from a parking lot; the removal of inappropriate slipcovers/siding materials and façade restoration for a iii number of buildings, multiple upper floor rehabilitation, etc. Multiple properties are not required to be contiguous. However, close physical proximity does improve the project impact within the district. Multiple property projects may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Installation of an elevator and common hallway linking several buildings.
  • Handicapped accessibility improvements serving multiple buildings/storefronts like a common ramp or lift.
  • Sprinkling of multiple properties with a central master control room.
  • Energy efficiency/sustainability upgrades like green roofs for multiple buildings, geo-thermal well fields, etc.
  • Improvements to the facades (front or rear) of a highly visible group or block of buildings.
  • Upper floor rehabilitation for a number of properties.

Programs considering a Multiple Properties application are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to discuss your application with Main Street Iowa Staff before submission.

EXPENDITURES/MATCH:

  • No previous expenditures of any kind will be considered as suitable cash match for a project. This statement applies to both new applicants and additional submissions for phased projects.
  • A dollar for dollar (1:1) CASH match is required for ALL projects. In kind contributions, while important, cannot be used to meet match requirements for any project.
  • The match requirement may include necessary project “soft” costs for professional service i.e. architectural or engineering directly related to the project/property.
  • EACH structure included as part of a MULTIPLE PROPERTIES application must meet the individual minimum project investment threshold ($15,000 grant/$30,000 minimum total investment.) For example this applies to multiple façade improvements, upper floor rehabs or energy efficiency/sustainability improvements. It does not apply if the project is a large, single investment that impacts a number of properties like a common elevator or fire suppression system.

NOTE: Previous Grant Beneficiaries (projects/buildings) who are completing a large, phased project may apply for additional Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant funding so long as the scope of work authorized in the previous award is complete and all funds dispersed.

REHAB/CONSTRUCTION:
Main Street Iowa staff will review building plans and specifications for STANDARDS: design appropriateness. Plans must meet all local code requirements and comply with the defined Iowa Green Streets criteria of IEDA. See http://iowaeconomicdevelopment.com/userdocs/documents/ieda/Iowa-Green-Streets-Criteria.pdf for Iowa Green Streets Criteria. Note: If a property is listed or deemed eligible for the National Register of Historic Places or part of a National Register District, the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation http://www.nps.gov/tps/standards/rehabilitation.htm must be followed.

AWARD ANNOUNCEMENTS:

CONTACT INFORMATION:
Ashley Zierath, Director
Uptown Marion – A Main Street Iowa District
ashley@marioncc.org

OVERVIEW:
The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) of the State Historical Society of Iowa administers the State Historic Preservation Tax Incentive Program, and participates in the certification process for the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives and county Historic Property Tax Exemption programs. The entire rehabilitation project must meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards when utilizing historic tax credits.

FEDERAL HISTORIC PRESERVATION TAX INCENTIVES PROGRAM:
20% of qualified rehabilitation costs are available as a credit against federal income taxes on income-producing historic properties. Rehabilitation work on historic properties must be “substantial” (an IRS test) and meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings. Applications and photos must be reviewed by the SHPO and be approved by the National Park Service.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:
Properties must be listed on the National Register or be evaluated as National Register eligible and then listed within 30 months after claiming the credit on IRS tax forms. (A 10% tax credit is also available for non-historic, non-residential, income-producing 12/4/2015 3 properties built before 1936. These properties can neither be listed on the National Register nor be a contributing resource in a National Register-listed historic district.) More information.

STATEWIDE HISTORIC TAX INCENTIVES PROGRAM
25% of qualified rehabilitation costs are available as a credit against the owner(s) state income taxes. Properties do not need to be income-producing. The SHPO cannot reserve credits for more than three years into the future. For a residential property or barn constructed before 1937, the cost of a qualified rehabilitation project must exceed either $25,000 or 25% of the assessed value (less the land value) – whichever is less. For commercial properties, the rehabilitation project must exceed 50% of the assessed value of the property (less the land value) before rehabilitation. If there is no assessed value the insured value can be used. Rehabilitation work must meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:
Properties must be listed on or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places or barns constructed before 1937 or barns that are eligible or listed on the National Register of Historic Places. More information.

TAX INCREMENT FINANCING
Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is a common method where City councils or boards of supervisors may use the property taxes resulting from the increase in taxable valuation caused by the construction or substantial rehabilitation of commercial facilities to provide economic development incentives within the district.

BROWNFIELD / GRAYFIELD TAX CREDIT PROGRAMS 
State and federal incentive programs exist that can make the purchase and redevelopment of a Brownfield site a good economic opportunity for many businesses. These incentive programs exist because Brownfield redevelopment can promote general economic health by reducing environmental hazards, cleaning up neighborhood eyesores, creating jobs, boosting tax revenue, and so on. Brownfield sites are abandoned, idled or underutilized industrial or commercial properties where real or perceived environmental contamination prevents productive expansion or redevelopment. Examples of Brownfield sites include former gas stations, dry cleaners, and other commercial operations that may have utilized products or materials potentially hazardous to the environment Grayfield sites are industrial or commercial properties that are vacant, blighted, obsolete, or otherwise underutilized. A grayfield has been developed and has infrastructure in place but the property’s current use is outdated or prevents a better or more efficient use of the property. More information.

WORKFORCE HOUSING TAX CREDITS
A tool in assisting communities with providing affordable housing options. Developers and contractors building or rehabilitating housing in Iowa may be eligible to receive certain state tax benefits. More information.

 

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