Jefferson Matters garners another Challenge grant

What started as a student design project last school year will become reality this year with the help of a $35,500 Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant awarded to Jefferson Matters: Main Street.

The project is to renovate the upper level of the Prairie Lakes office north of the courthouse on State St to create an apartment and a shared workspace.

The preliminary design for the project was done by Greene County student Colby Aspengren, who is now a junior. Click here for the May 3 GreeneCountyNewsOnline post about the project.

Now that funding is in place, with Prairie Lakes providing the $35,5000 match, students in the construction class will do the work. Aspengren is in the class, gaining more authentic experience with the project.

The Challenge Grants were awarded at a ceremony Wednesday afternoon at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden.

Jefferson Matters board members, school administrators, and construction students who will do the actual work renovating the upper level of an 1886 building on State Street were at the presentation of a $35,500 Challenge Grant Wednesday. The building is owned by Prairie Lakes AEA, and its the AEA that is providing the match to the grant.

According to Iowa Economic Development Authority director Debi Durham, “The Main Street Iowa Challenge grants have proven to be catalysts for the revitalization of Iowa’s historic main streets. These projects demonstrate the ongoing financial commitment the people of our state – both our elected officials and private citizens – have made to the revitalization of our historic downtown districts. Rehabilitated downtown buildings create opportunities for new business and new residences in the core of our communities.”

Fourteen bricks and mortar projects received funding in this grant cycle, with a total project cost of more than $2.7million.

This is the second Challenge Grant received by Jefferson Matters; the first was used for the building that is now Sensibly Chic on the south side of the square.

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