On May 5, 2022, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced a total of nearly $20 million in investments in downtown housing projects in 61 communities.
The funding will create 466 new homes and support downtown revitalization efforts, since downtown residents are often key to downtown renewal (as documented in the 2020 book, RECONOMICS: The Path To Resilient Prosperity, back in 2020.
“An adequate housing supply is the lynchpin to attracting and retaining a healthy and flourishing workforce,” said Governor Reynolds.
“The investments announced today will not only provide 466 Iowans the opportunity to live near where they work but they will breathe new life into dozens of underutilized facilities in our communities,” she added.
Awards were made through the Downtown Housing Grant program, which provides support for downtown revitalization through new housing opportunities in communities with populations of 30,000 or below.
Examples of projects awarded funds through the program include:
- the former Iowa Mutual Insurance building in DeWitt, which will create 53 rental homes;
- a former middle school in Jefferson, that will be converted into 25 rental homes; and
- a historic brewery in Cascade that has sat vacant for the past 25 years, and that will be used to create 10 new rental homes.
The program will spur the conversion of a total of two former schools, seven underutilized facilities and 52 upper story buildings into housing.
“This program provides a unique and transformative opportunity to both revitalize our communities and increase our housing stock across the state,” continued Governor Reynolds.
“Communities have answered the call for unique and inspiring housing projects, and I look forward to seeing them come to fruition,” she concluded.
The program had $20 million available for awards and received 94 applications requesting $31 million in funding.
Projects were scored on a competitive basis on criteria including project appropriateness, funding and partnerships, impact on housing in the community and population size.
The Downtown Housing Grant Program is a part of Gov. Reynolds’ $100 million investment to increase the supply of housing options and protect and expand housing opportunities for Iowans to live in or near the communities where they work.
The funds are made available through federal American Rescue Act State and Local Fiscal Relief Funds.
Featured rendering shows the Iowa Mutual Lofts in DeWitt, Iowa. Image courtesy of Bush Construction.