State Center to receive $75,000 economic development grant

STATE CENTER – State Center has been awarded a $75,000 challenge grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority to go toward the renovation of a Main Street building.

The grant will fund the project at 108 W. Main St., otherwise known as the Benson Building.

“It’s a great boost,” said Jim Eckhardt, president of the State Center Development Association. “We were happy to get help from the state.”

Eckhardt said SCDA will renovate the building for resale just as they have done recently with the former Woods Hospital building, which is right next door.

“This grant will help us fix up a building that was dilapidated and try to get it back on the tax rolls,” Eckhardt said.

State Center Mayor Harlan Quick said the building was in such bad shape that its failing roof was causing damage to both the former Woods Hospital Building on one side and the Watson’s Grocery Store on the other.

“We’re already done with the roof and we hope to start in the spring with the foundation and the basement,” Eckhardt said.

He said the renovation is expected to be completed within a year. Quick said the grant is great for the town.

“I think it’s fantastic,” Quick said. “It’s another step toward creating a sustainable economy on Main Street.”

The SCDA has two years to raise $75,000 to match the challenge grant. Eckhardt said they hope to raise the money through private donations and the selling of property the group has renovated.

The challenge grant is funded through an appropriation from the Iowa Legislature. Thirteen other Iowa communities also received 2014 Main Street Iowa Challenge Grants through the Iowa Economic Development Authority during a ceremony in Des Moines Tuesday.

“These challenge grants have proven to be catalysts for the revitalization of Iowa’s historic main streets,” said IEDA Director Debi Durham.