Anamosa is continuing to move forward in the hopes of securing a grant to improve the façades of downtown buildings.
Earlier this year, during their Feb. 11 city council meeting, council approved applying for funds from the Downtown Revitalization Program through the Community Development Block Grant to improve the façades of downtown buildings for the 2020 grant cycle. If awarded the full amount, $1 million could be invested in upgrading the appearance of downtown buildings over the next couple of years. The $1 million comes from three sources: up to $500,000 could be awarded by the state, with up to $250,000 matched by each the city and private property owners.
At the May 28 meeting, delayed a day due to the Memorial Day holiday, the city council approved City Administrator Jacob Sheridan working on a contract agreement with Martin Gardner Architecture to do some engineering work necessary for the grant application process.
Sheridan estimated the cost would be somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000, which he said could be part of the city’s match, and said he would bring the contract back for the council’s approval once it was written up.
Jones County Economic Development Director Derek Lumsden, who has been helping the city with the process and has previous experience with the program, said the engineers were required because they have the necessary experience with required standards and federal Housing and Urban Development regulations.
The architects, Lumsden said, would assist in making renderings for the property owners and also ensure that buildings interested in applying met the necessary Eastern Iowa Council of Government. The renderings may cut down on the number of interested properties, with Lumsden saying some property owners that expressed interest may back down once they have an idea how much the project could cost.
Lumsden said after determining which buildings qualify and are still interested, the plan is to split up the project over multiple application processes, a practice that is becoming more common.
Should the architectural work move forward, Lumsden said the city would likely have a defined district by January before the April deadline for the application.