First Vision 2020 report – a microbrewery in Jefferson

The Vision 2020 project has yielded its first preliminary study on one of several ideas put at the top of the list by a steering committee – a brewery.

The report was prepared by Megan McKay of PTB Consulting. She is affiliated with Peace Tree Brewing in Des Moines.

After looking at the demographics of the county, the proximity of other breweries, and six available buildings in Jefferson, she recommended using the vacant Higgins U-Haul building at the corner of N. Wilson and Washington St as a taproom with a microbrewery license. Decades ago that building was the Jefferson city hall.

In Iowa, a microbrewery may sell beer produced on- or offsite and may include a restaurant. It cannot sell wine.

McKay recommended keeping a focus on high quality beer with a qualified commercial brewer as an owner or key employee. She suggested partnering with local restaurants or food trucks to provide food options. She also suggested that a small kitchen could also be built there to house start-up restauranteurs as an incubator to test their concept and then potentially move into a food truck, catering business or stand-alone restaurant.

The full report is posted on the Greene County Development Corporation’s page at the Greene County Chamber & Tourism’s website.

GCDC executive director Ken Paxton said reports would be posted to the webpage as they are available.

Paxton also reported at a GCDC board meeting Aug. 15 that Laborers’ Home Development Corporation of Denison is looking at developing 42 townhouses in Jefferson. The company relies on federal tax credits, and is now determining which of three towns, including Jefferson, would score highest on an application for the credits. The application must be submitted in the next few weeks.

He also reported on a meeting held that morning of administrators from Greene County Schools, Iowa Central Community College and Iowa Workforce Development about a potential apprenticeship program. They’ll meet again next week to compile a list of what job training is currently being offered, and then meet with area employers to hear what their needs are.

Paxton said the apprenticeship program would bolster applications for grant funds for future housing projects.

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