Pictured from left to right: Debbi Durham, Iowa Economic Development Authority Executive Director; Steve and Heidi McNally of One Office Solutions; Rich Ziettlow, Vice President of the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce; and Michael Wagler, Director of the Iowa Main Street Organization
(DES MOINES) — The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) has awarded $950,000 in Main Street Iowa Challenge Grants to 13 communities around the state, one of which is located in Le Mars. The grants will benefit local improvement projects, including upper story renovations, movie theater restoration and expansions, restaurant start-ups and improvements, critical building stabilization and façade restoration and upgrades. The announcements were made during a ceremony held at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. The Le Mars recipient is One Office Solution. One Office
Solution received a $75,000 grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Matching funds were applied to the project from the city of Le Mars making the amount to $340,000. The total for the project is estimated at $415,000. One Office Solutions is wanting to convert the upper level of their building into four apartments. Mary Reynolds is the Le Mars Main Street coordinator and explains the procedure for One Office Solution to
receive the grant.
Reynolds says the team had some assistance from a designer from Des Moines to help with the proposal.
Reynolds says several people were consulted to help One Office Solutions convert the upper level of their building into apartments without interrupting business for One Office Solutions.
IEDA Director Debi Durham says, “The Main Street Iowa Challenge grants have proven to be catalysts for the revitalization of Iowa’s historic main streets. These projects demonstrate the ongoing commitment the people of our
state have to keeping our downtowns vibrant, which helps attract new visitors, residents and businesses.”
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 these 13 projects is over $8.7 million.
Michael Wagler, state coordinator for the Main Street Iowa program says, “Each project must provide at least a dollar-for-dollar cash-match,” “In total, these projects will actually leverage more than nine times the state’s investment into bricks and mortar rehabilitation that will have a significant economic impact within each district.”
The Challenge Grant program is funded through an appropriation from the Iowa Legislature. Since the first appropriation in 2002, approximately $9.6 million in state and federal funds have leveraged more than $57 million in private investment. Over the life of the program, 165 projects in 53 Main Street Iowa commercial districts across the state have received funding.
In the past, Le Mars has been the recipient of the Challenge Grants for the facade renovation of the American Legion Hall, the Le Mars Beauty College, Claussen’s, and Central Avenue Event Center.