Today, the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) awarded $40,000 to five Main Street programs across Iowa. The grants are designed to benefit business development and expansion projects in the Main Street districts of Czech Village – Cedar Rapids, Elkader, Marion, Mount Vernon and Woodbine.
The grants are administered through IEDA’s Iowa Downtown Resource Center and Main Street Iowa programs. The funding will assist with business expansion projects for Lions Bridge Brewing Company (Czech Village-Cedar Rapids), Rockadot LLC (Elkader), Giving Tree Theater (Marion), The Perfect Blend Shortbread Company (Mount Vernon) and Building Grounds (Woodbine). All five businesses will advance to the state Open 4 Business contest that will be held on August 26, 2015, in conjunction with the Iowa Downtown Summit in Historic Valley Junction-West Des Moines for the chance to win an additional $20,000. Twenty nine (29) businesses located in Main Street districts from across the state competed in first round pitch-off events in front of a panel of three judges to earn the chance to advance to the state contest. The goal of the program is to further develop the economic vitality in Iowa’s Main Street districts.
“This new program builds upon the current revitalization work taking place in our Main Street districts,” explained Main Street Iowa State Coordinator Michael Wagler. “The investment these businesses are making continues to build upon the strong local business ethic we see across Iowa, making it a great place to do business.”
The Challenge Grant program is funded through an appropriation from the Iowa Legislature. Since the first appropriation in 2002, approximately $6 million in state and federal funds has leveraged over $36 million in private reinvestment in 110 projects in 42 Main Street Iowa commercial districts across the state.