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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

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 $1,000,000 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.

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 $100,000. Minimum grants will be no less than $25,000. No program shall receive more than one award per application round.


Local Application Now Closed

Uptown is looking for projects with the highest likelihood of being awarded grant funds at the state level. Interested parties should complete the attached pre-application and email or hand deliver to Brooke Prouty, ([email protected]) no later than 12:00 p.m., Monday August 8th, 2023. The project selected by the Uptown Advisors with input from the Uptown Design Review Committee will be notified Thursday August 11th, 2022. Uptown Staff will then work with the selected nominee to submit a full proposal and application to the state.


Program Flier:

Program Overview:

State Scoring Criteria:

State Program Details Video:

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.

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

  • Exterior rehabilitation (front, rear and side facades)
  • Interior rehabilitation (first floor commercial and upper story housing)
  • Structural repairs and building system improvements
  • Single specific phase of a large rehab. The project must have a specific defined focus and clearly identified scope of work, with commitment to future phases demonstrated.

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 connected by a common need or issue. Multiple property projects might include but are not limited to: the removal of inappropriate slipcovers/siding materials; façade restoration for several buildings; activation of a series of highly visible rear entries; or installation of an elevator and common hallway linking several buildings to support upper story development. Programs considering a Multiple Properties application are strongly encouraged to discuss the project with Main Street Iowa Staff before submission.


  • 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 ($25,000 grant/$50,000 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.


  • 2014 Challenge Grant Recipient: $75,000 Memorial Hall BLDG/Uptown Snug
  • 2015 Challenge Grant Recipient: $55,000 Cobban-Hervey BLDG/Anderson Bogert/Urban Pie
  • 2016 Challenge Grant Recipient: $75,000 Kuba-Kurtz BLDG/ Brick Alley Pub & Sports Bar
  • 2017 Challenge Grant Recipient: $75,000 Park Place BLDG/ Coldwell
  • 2019 Challenge Grant Recipient: $75,000 Owen Building
  • 2020 Challenge Grant Recipient: $75,000 Monuments Building/Frydae
  • 2022 Challenge Grant Recipient: $100,000 Draper Building

Brooke Prouty, Director
Uptown Marion – A Main Street Iowa District
[email protected]

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.

Tax Increment Financing is the most versatile and common form of financial assistance that is available to companies looking to expand or build a facility in our community. TIF is available to businesses that both qualify for the program and generate new property taxes through either new construction or substantial renovation of their current facility. New property taxes created through capital investment are rebated back to your company over an agreed upon period of time.

City of Marion Tax Increment Financing Policy

Nick Glew, President
MEDCO – Marion Economic Development Corp
[email protected] | (319) 743-4624

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.


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.


  • 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)


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


Brooke Prouty, Director
Uptown Marion – A Main Street Iowa District
[email protected]

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.

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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