The west side of the Greenfield downtown district will be getting a number of upgrades over the next couple of years.
Greenfield Chamber/Main Street and Development (GCMSD) announced last week they, the City of Greenfield and Southern Iowa Council of Governments (SICOG) were able to partner in applying for and receiving a Downtown Revitalization Grant.
The grant is in the amount of $530,000 and comes from the Iowa Economic Development Authority. The funds will benefit facade improvements on participating blighted buildings in the downtown area. Blighted is a broad term that means “in need of repair.”
The city pledged $125,000 in tax increment financing towards the work. The Chamber supported it at just under $30,000. Participating property owners, in all, are likely to put in approximately $150,000, according to SICOG regional planner Jeremy Rounds.
About nine buildings and 17 facades are thought to be involved right now, although Rounds said that number could flucuate through the project, and it is not uncommon for that to happen.
“We’re glad to help Greenfield move forward in their projects they have going on,” Rounds said. “This has the potential to be a really nice program that could help the west half of the square moving forward for to see a lot of revitalization.”
Greenfield City Council approved a slum and blight resolution, set the project target area and accepted a recommendation from the Chamber and SICOG to hire the Franks Design Group of Glenwood to evaluate prospective projects for the grant funds during a council meeting last September. All these steps were part of applying for the funds.
A slum and blight assessment was also completed by SICOG to decide how the community could target a certain area of the downtown public square district, which is a TIF financing area.
Rounds said that the general public probably won’t see a lot of work being completed until next year, although some may begin this year.
Next steps for the program include official paperwork being completed by the city, and property owners meeting with the architect and SICOG to work out final design details for each part of the project.
GCMSD Executive Director Stacie Eshelman said she’s very excited that the work she and others did on the front side of this grant application process is coming to fruition. The Chamber, for instance, hired the architect and paid the pre-application fees.
“We knew that this was really important. We’ve been understaffed the lat few years, so we had some money that we could put toward the project. It will help a lot of business owners and our downtown district,” Eshelman said. “There’s still a lot of work to be done. It’s a two-year project, so over the next two years you’ll see a lot of changes happening on the west half of the square and down to 2nd Street.”
Greenfield Mayor Jimmie Schultz credited the council and city staff for the work they and others did to obtain these funds and also shared his excitement for the potential they bring to town.
“It’s a good thing for all the work that everyone put in to get it. The council tries to do things the right way when it comes to helping people and it’s nice with what SICOG has done for us in the past, so hopefully we can join efforts here and keep making things better for everybody,” Schultz said. “Now the hard part comes for getting everything accomplished that the property owners hope to get done.”
This is the same type of grant as one the Warren Cultural Center used in 2012.