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Since becoming a Main Street Iowa community in 2013, the Uptown Marion District has seen significant economic growth. In just over two years, the District has seen $6.8M in private investments through building acquisitions, rehabilitations and new constructions projects; $630K in state grants to rehabilitate historic buildings; $350K in an ArtPlace America grant to transform the underutilized alleys behind some of our prominent buildings; 29 business starts and expansions, creating 83 full-time equivalent jobs; and 5.6K volunteer hours to assist in planning and implementing projects and activities.

FY16 Economic Impact (Sept 15 - Aug 16)
  • $1,500 Local Business Grants Awarded
  • $55,000 Challenge Grant Awarded
  • 15 Art Sculptures Installed
  • 16 Business Starts & Expansions
  • 1,219 Volunteer Hours
  • $1,233,104 Private Investments in District Commercial Properties
2017 District Projects

ImaginArt in the Alleys

Construction on the alleys behind one of our most prominent historic commercial blocks will begin spring 2016 as part of the ImaginArt in the Alleys project. Marion was awarded a $350K ArtPlace America Grant to transform the alley into a public space, focused on placemaking.

2015 Challenge Grant

In 2015, Uptown Marion was awarded a $55K Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant for the Cobban-Hervey Building. Barker Financial, the building owner, will complete construction fall 2017 on facade rehabilitations, storefront improvements, and two upper-story office space renovations.

2016 Challenge Grant

In 2016, Uptown Marion was awarded a $75K Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant for the Kuba-Kurtz Building. Owner, Les Arnold, has completed this project, turning the old Bill’s Tap into Brick Alley Pub & Sports Bar.

CDBG Facade Program

Construction on nine Uptown building facades will begin spring 2016 as part of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Facade Program. Marion was awarded the $500K CDBG in 2014 from the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

Mixed-Use Development

Planning for a mixed-use public/private building will continue into 2018. To-date, a facility needs assessment and a cost benefit site analysis have been complete, as well as several community visioning sessions. Site plans have been submitted and are under review.

Local Grant Program

Uptown Marion Main Street is currently working with the City of Marion to solidify district design standards and implement a local Sign and Awning Grant program for District business and building owners.

7th / 7th Roundabout

Street reconstruction and installation of a roundabout at the intersection of 7th Ave and 7th St has been completed. The project is part of a long term traffic management plan to balance traffic, increase safety and create a more pedestrian-friendly atmosphere in Uptown.

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