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10 Communities Receive $925,000 in Main Street Iowa Challenge Grants

November 9, 2023

For more information, contact:

Staci Hupp Ballard

10 Communities Receive $925,000 in Main Street Iowa Challenge Grants
Projects will leverage private investments to revitalize downtowns across the state

November 9, 2023 (DES MOINES) — The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) today awarded $925,000 in Main Street Iowa Challenge Grants to 10 communities around the state. The grants help redevelop or rehabilitate underused buildings as a way to stimulate economic growth and further investment in Iowa’s historic main streets. Projects include:

  • Removing a metal slipcover from a historic building in downtown Spencer to unmask its original façade and reveal historic window openings, which allows for future upper-floor development.
  • Giving new life to a vacant, derecho-damaged building in uptown Marion to accommodate a growing business and upper-floor housing.
  • Transforming a vacant historic building in downtown Burlington into an old-fashioned ice cream shop.

“The Main Street Iowa Challenge grants help us revitalize and reinvest in our traditional commercial districts, which is good business,” said IEDA and Iowa Finance Authority Director Debi Durham. “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 cost of these 10 projects is over $3.5 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, about $14.6 million in funds have leveraged more than $68.3 million in further investment.

For more information about the Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant program, contact Nick Sorensen at 515.348.6182 or

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Download a list of today's awards here.

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