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Forest City Apartment Project Receives Iowa Community Catalyst Grant

The old Irish Hospital and former Winnebago County Jail has received a grant for it’s next function in the city, to become affordable apartment housing. The Iowa Economic Development Authority or IEDA awarded $2.6 Million in catalyst funding to strengthen downtowns across Iowa. The apartment project was one of 26 communities to receive $100,000 towards that goal.

Forest City Economic Development Director Beth Bilyeu explained how the project came about.

The two have been working on the project for about a year and a half. They came up with the name Irish Hospital Apartments based off what the buildings original purpose was, that of a hospital.

The building was later converted into the Winnebago County Jail. However, when county voters approved the construction of a new jail and public safety center, the old building was slated for the wrecking ball and possible parking lot. That’s when Peterson and others stepped in and began to work with the Winnebago County Supervisors on another possible solution according to Bilyeu.

The city, various organizations and individuals have also helped with needed funding to get the project moving forward. The IEDA grant also plays a major role in initiating the project into a construction phase.

Construction and remodeling of the old hospital is slated to begin around the first of November. Bilyeu believes that this project is vital to the community and the area.

Now the developing group is waiting on the tax credits to be approved before moving forward.

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