(Radio Iowa) – Fourteen communities across the state were awarded grants Tuesday to complete downtown or main street business projects. Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) spokesperson Tina Hoffman says the Main Street Iowa Challenge Grants will cover a wide variety of improvements. “There’s a building that (was damaged) in a fire and buildings that have faced demolition, but because of these grant funds they’re going to be brought back to life,” Hoffman said.
The 14 projects awarded grants are estimated to carry a combined cost of more than $3.6 million. For three of the communities, this is the first time they’ve received a Main Street Iowa Challenge grant. “Belle Plaine, Osceola, and Marion are first time recipients,” Hoffman said. “There are others that have been awarded grants throughout the years. State Center is getting its seventh grant and Dubuque is getting its eighth.” In addition to those five towns, the projects awarded grants are located in Burlington, Cedar Falls, Charles City, Des Moines, Dunlap, Elkader, Manning, Waterloo, and Woodbine.
The grants total $951,000 — with each project receiving between $45,000-$75,000. In the past, the Main Street Iowa Challenge Grants were funded through a federal appropriation. “This year, however, we’ve received a state appropriation…for the grants,” Hoffman said. Each project must provide at least a dollar-for-dollar cash match. Since 2002, approximately $4.9 million in grants have been awarded to 83 projects throughout 41 Main Street Iowa districts, according to the IEDA.