Des Moines, Iowa — Three projects in the KIWA listening area are among downtown housing projects in 61 Iowa communities selected to receive nearly $20-million in money from the State of Iowa.

According to the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the state funds will help create 466 new homes for Iowans. Awards were made through the Downtown Housing Grant program, which provides support for downtown revitalization through new housing opportunities in communities with populations of 30,000 or below.

In our area, an Upper Story Conversion project at 204 1st Avenue in downtown Rock Rapids will receive $300,000. An Upper Story Conversion project at 1523 Main Street in Rock Valley also received $300,000, as did an Upper Story Conversion at 248 9th Street in Sibley, according to state officials. The IEDC says the projects will create three new apartment units in each of the three communities.

Officials say the program had $20 million available for awards and received 94 applications requesting $31 million in funding. Projects were scored on a competitive basis on criteria including project appropriateness, funding and partnerships, impact on housing in the community and population size.

You may recall that the Sheldon City Council recently approved the application for a similar grant for development of three upstairs apartments at 321 9th Street. Sheldon Development Director Curt Strouth tells KIWA that, while the Sheldon application was for the same type of housing as the grants approved for Rock Rapids, Rock Valley and Sibley, the Sheldon application is for a different program with criteria and funding separate from these other grants. He says Sheldon’s application is still being considered, with no decision rendered yet.

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