Hamilton County S.E.E.D.


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Hamilton County, Iowa

Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant
The Iowa Economic Development Authority announced Friday that $707,220 in HUD Challenge Grants were awarded to nine Iowa communities through a fund administered by the Iowa Downtown Resource Center and Main Street Iowa. The estimated total project cost of the nine projects is more than $5.7 million.

Hamilton County S.E.E.D. was awarded a grant in the amount of $100,000 for a $222,000 building renovation project in Jewell. The former American Legion building, located at 630 Main Street and owned by Jewell Area Development Enterprise, will be the recipient of the grant funds. Repair of the structure will help ensure the long-term stability of three adjacent properties in Jewell’s downtown. The project encompasses restoring the traditional historic fašade and a total interior renovation with installation of a geothermal system, plumbing and electrical updates; window replacement and insulation added to the walls and roof. Installation of a storm water management system in the rear of the property will address existing mold issues.

Senator Tom Harkin joined representatives from the Iowa Economic Development Authority and Main Street Iowa to make the announcement during a check presentation ceremony held at the Des Moines Botanical Center. “These challenge grants have proven to be valuable development tools in improving our historic commercial districts with a very impressive return on investment,” stated Governor Terry Branstad. “Local project developers contribute at a minimum a dollar for dollar match for each federal dollar provided through this program.”

Senator Harkin said, “Iowa’s Main Streets are the embodiment of the American small town life: a place where communities come together and share in the town’s rich history. We need to protect, preserve and enhance our Main Streets and with this year’s funding, Iowa will be able to do that while helping to rejuvenate local small businesses as well. I am honored to be part of the group that helps bring this needed economic funding to Iowa.”

The Challenge Grant program is funded through an appropriation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Since the first appropriation in 2002, this program has awarded a total of $4.8 million and has leveraged approximately $43.1 million in local investments.

To learn more about the Jewell project or the Main Street program contact Sarah Thompson at Hamilton County S.E.E.D., 515-832-9575 or hamcseed@wmtel.net

The Main Street approach to Dwntwndowntown revitalization was developed in 1977 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) in Washington, D.C. with the goal of economic development within the context of historic preservation. In 1985, the Iowa Legislature adopted the model and in 1991 Hamilton County became a pilot project for utilizing the model on a countywide basis.

The Four Point Approach is a trademarked and copyrighted program of the NTHP's Main Street Center. The program is based upon the following four points:

Business Improvement -- This element involves diversifying the downtown economy by identifying potential market niches, finding new uses for vacant or underused spaces and improving business practices.

Design -- Utilizing appropriate design concepts, the visual quality of the downtown (buildings, signs, window displays, landscaping, and environment) is enhanced.
Organization -- Each community has many groups of people who are interested in and are willing to work toward the goal of a revitalized downtown. The organizational element brings together the public sector, private groups and individual citizens, with coordination by a paid program manager, to work more effectively in the downtown.

Promotion -- By promoting the downtown in a positive manner, a community can begin to focus on downtown as a source of community pride, social activity and economic development potential.

Three Hamilton County communities are currently utilizing the Main Street Approach in their downtown revitalization efforts: Ellsworth, Jewell and Stratford. Over the course of the last ten years, however, each of Hamilton County's nine communities have embraced the Approach.

Services Offered:
Design Assistance; Historic WhistleStoppreservation incentives; referral services; coordinated promotional activities; busines planning; targeted retail recruitment; trade area analysis and marketing strategies; national resource network; quarterly workshops with nationally recognized speakers; grant writing experience; marketing assistance; event/attraction advertising; low interest loan pool; upper story renovation.

For more information call (515)832-9575

Additional Resources
Main Street Iowa Web Site
      Economic Impact Statistics



Main Street Iowa video