East Main Street lot will transform to green space

The lot on 135 E. Main St. that was home to a historic building destroyed in an arson fire will be transformed next year to a green space.

“That lot will only be utilized with the sole purpose as a green space and park,” Jenny Etter, director of the Marshalltown Central Business District said. “It will really be a pretty addition to that end of town. It is exciting.”

The cleanup will begin in the spring.

“Our intention is to have it prepped, seeded and then once the property is donated to us we’re going to work with the (Marshalltown) Public Art Committee and hopefully then we will obtain or lease public art to be placed on that lot,” Etter said.

The Marshalltown Development Foundation is holding the deed to the property, but it’s expected to be donated to the MCBD in the near future.

Mary Giese, executive director of the Marshall County Arts and Cultural Alliance, said the M-PAC is excited to work with the MCBD, but specific plans for art have not been discussed.

Etter said residents in the buildings around the green space will benefit.

“It will be something nice to look out on if you’re in the Iowa Wholesale Building or Tallcorn,” Etter said. “The residents will benefit from that.”

Lew Miller, owner of the Iowa Wholesale building across the street, said the cleanup of the lot is long over due.

“The cleaning up of that corner on Main Street will be a great enhancement to downtown,” Miller said. “The Iowa Wholesale building and the Tallcorn project will just add that much more enhancement to that corner.”

Michelle Spohnheimer, Marshalltown Housing and Community director said it would be nice for downtown.

“To have a space like that downtown would be beneficial,” Spohnheimer said. “It’s always nice to have something that’s able to draw people and to incorporate the arts to the downtown environment.”

Etter said she hopes to get members of the downtown community involved in the process.

“I’ve already talked to CommonBond and they are really excited about it,” Etter said. “We see this as something that everyone on this part of Main Street can be involved with. It’s not necessarily a MCBD thing as it is a downtown effort at having a really nice green space part available to people at that end of town.”

She is also accepting ideas.

“We are just starting to think about what we would like to have there, whether it’s trees, shrubs, flowers or an herb garden,” Etter said.

If anyone wants to get involved Etter said to contact her at 641-844-2001.

The vacant three-story historic building that sat on the lot was destroyed in an arson fire in February 2012. Andrew Burke of Marshalltown is serving a 25 year prison sentence for the arson.