State approaches city about pilot project to create housing

Michaela Kendall

GRUNDY CENTER – An exciting new pilot project that could help rehab upper story apartments in the downtown district might be on the horizon for Grundy Center.
At Monday night’s meeting, Brian Schoon with the Iowa Northland Regional Council of Governments (INRCOG) approached the Grundy Center city council to present information on a state-funded pilot project that would help meet the need for housing in town.
“Right now, the state is interested in doing a pilot project that they can use as an example to develop a statewide program from, and they are interested in having [Grundy Center] be the first city to try this out,” Schoon said.
The project would be structured similar to a Community Development Block Grant, where the state – through the Iowa Economic Development Authority – would provide grant money to the city of Grundy Center.
The city would then use an application process to select a building owner who is interested in rehabbing the upper story of their building to create housing, and award the grant money to that building owner.
This is different from the Downtown Revitalization Block Grant the city was recently awarded, which will be used to help repair and restore historic facades in the downtown district. Unlike the facade grant, the grant money from the potential pilot project could be used to rehab the interiors of upper story buildings in the downtown area. And unlike the facade grant, this grant would be limited to one building owner instead of several building owners, most likely in the downtown area, though the specific requirements have not yet been set.
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