The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) announced on Tuesday, Jan. 7 that $951,000 in Main Street Iowa Challenge Grants will be awarded to 14 Iowa communities to complete projects estimated to have a total project cost of more than $3.6 million. The funding will be distributed in the form of grants to the selected Main Street programs.

"These challenge grants have proven to be catalysts for the revitalization of Iowa’s historic main streets," said IEDA Director Debi Durham. "Reinvesting in our traditional commercial districts is good business. It’s good for our economy and good for our state. These projects will bring new businesses and new residents to our downtown districts."

Representatives from the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Main Street Iowa program made the announcement during a special check presentation ceremony held at the Des Moines Botanical Center. The grants will benefit local improvement projects such as façade improvement and restoration, stabilizing buildings devastated by fire, upper floor rehabilitation and stabilizing and rehabilitating severely deteriorated buildings.

"Each project must provide at least a dollar-for-dollar cash match," explained Main Street Iowa State Coordinator Michael Wagler. "Overall, these projects will leverage almost three times that amount of private investment."

This year, the Challenge Grant program will be funded through an appropriation from the Iowa Legislature. Previous Challenge Grants were funded through a federal appropriation. Since the first federal appropriation in 2002, approximately $4.9 million in grants leveraged over $36 million in private reinvestment in 83 projects throughout 41 Main Street Iowa districts.

2014 Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant recipients were as follows (amounts are listed as grant award, matching amount and total project cost):

Belle Plaine, Hansen Building, $60,000.00, $87,282.77, $162,282.77

Burlington, JC Penney Building Rehab, $75,000.00, $566,292.00, $641,292.00

Cedar Falls, Historic Post Office, $75,000.00, $110,000.00, $185,000.00

Charles City, Multiple Properties, $66,000.00, $66,927.28, $133,854.56

Des Moines, Cornerstone Historical Project, $75,000.00, $340,482.00, $415,482.00

Dubuque, Central Avenue façade Improvements, $65,000.00, $254,050.00, $329,050.00

Dunlap, Dunlap Legion Hall Building, $75,000.00, $314,700.00, $389,700.00

Elkader, Reimer & Dittmer Building, $75,000.00, $120,593.00, $195,593.00

Manning, Cliff’s Place Interior Renovation, $45,000.00, $45,621.18, $91,242.18

Marion, Memorial Hall Restoration Project, $75,000.00, $99,324.00, $174,324.00

Osceola, Garner-Howe Hotel Restoration, $65,000.00, $91,980.00, $166,980.00

State Center, Benson Building, $75,000.00, $75,000.00, $150,000.00

Waterloo, Bride’s Corner/620 Commercial Street, $50,000.00, $144,967.11, $219,967.11

Woodbine, 413 & 415 Walker Street, $75,000.00, $350,250.00, $425,250.00

For more information about the Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant program, contact Michael Wagler, Main Street Iowa State Coordinator, at 515.725.3056 or mainstreet@iowa.gov.