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13 Communities Receive $1.2 Million in Main Street Iowa Challenge Grants

October 20, 2021

For more information, contact:

Ms. Kanan Kappelman

13 Communities Receive $1.2 Million in Main Street Iowa Challenge Grants 
Projects will leverage private investments to revitalize downtowns across the state

October 20, 2021 (DES MOINES) — The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) today awarded $1,205,000 in Main Street Iowa Challenge Grants to 13 communities around the state. The grants will benefit local building projects that contribute to the economic development of designated Main Street Iowa Districts, including:

•    Giving new life to a long-closed landmark restaurant building on the Washington Square, 
•    Transforming a vacant office building in Avoca into a bakery and café for brick-and-mortar expansion of a popular farmer’s market vendor; and 
•    Activating an unoccupied upper story with four short-term stay units to meet local lodging and housing needs in Elkader.

“The Main Street Iowa Challenge grants have been instrumental in revitalizing Iowa’s historic main streets,” said IEDA and Iowa Finance Authority Executive 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.”

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 $3.6 million.

“Each of these projects represents growing momentum for downtown and community revitalization,” said Michael Wagler, state coordinator for the Main Street Iowa program. “This investment in catalytic projects across Iowa will have a significant economic impact and help strengthen local creative placemaking efforts.”

Since the first Challenge Grants were awarded in 2002, approximately $12.8 million in state and federal funds have leveraged nearly $65 million in private investment.

For more information about the Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant program, contact Maia Fiala Jessen at 515.348.6179 or


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