The Iowa Economic Development Authority announced that $2.6 million in Community Catalyst Building Remediation grants have been awarded to 26 Iowa communities. The Community Catalyst program was initiated in 2018 by IEDA to help create fundamental, positive change in Iowa’s downtowns. The grants, $100,000 per community, assist with the redevelopment, remediation or rehabilitation of buildings to stimulate economic growth and reinvestment.
Forest City will benefit from one of these grants as the Hansen Hardware building will be converted into new studios for KIOW and KHAM. The downtown location will make the stations more accessible to the listeners and the community.
“Revitalization of statewide communities is particularly critical as we recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19,” said IEDA and Iowa Finance Authority director Debi Durham. “The Community Catalyst program is not only about investing in our infrastructure, but it inspires further development and future growth for years to come.”
Forest City Mayor Byron Ruiter is happy with the awarding of the grant and the remodeling of the building into broadcast studios.
The Community Catalyst Building Remediation program is funded through an appropriation from the Iowa Legislature. This is the third year these grants are being made available via the IEDA and continued funding is based on annual availability.
Last fall, Iowa cities approved through a pre-application process were invited to apply. IEDA received a total of 73 applications. Scoring criteria was based on project impact, appropriateness, funding/partnerships and incorporation of sustainability/smart growth principles. Per program rules, at least 40% of the grants were awarded to cities with populations of less than 1,500. The grants will support local improvement projects such as façade upgrades, building rehabilitations and renovations. Cities are required to provide financial and/or in-kind resources to supplement these projects.