State grants to spur rehab projects in three towns

Old buildings to get new lives

A former Ford dealership in Eagle Grove and an old hardware store in Rockwell City will be rejuvenated with the aid of grants from the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

Also, an old gasoline station in Lohrville will get a new life as a meeting place for car clubs as a result of a grant award.

The authority recently awarded Community Catalyst Grants to support all three projects. Each project is getting $100,000.

The former car dealership is at 112 N. Lucas in Eagle Grove, about a half block from Broadway, which is the main business street in the Wright County community. The two-story building was constructed in 1900.

The building’s owner, Torkelson Properties, of Eagle Grove, plans to create six apartments on the upper floor and commercial space on the first floor, according to City Administrator Bryce Davis.

”When the rental market improved with the arrival of Prestage Foods, he made the initiative to work with the city to submit an application for the grant,” Davis said. ”It was a competitive application and fortunately a grant was awarded.”

The cost of the project is estimated at $496,000, according to the Economic Development Authority.

Under the terms of the grant award, the work must be done within two years, but Davis said it’s expected to take nine months to finish. He said the property owner is already cleaning out the building and is preparing to work on the roof.

In the Calhoun County community of Rockwell City, the former Cooper Hardware store on the City Square will be renovated. The vacant building has commercial space on the first floor and an apartment on the second floor. It is owned by Brian Boedecker, of Rockwell City.

Planned upgrades include a new roof and tuckpointing, which is the cleaning and repair of the exterior bricks and masonry.

The project is estimated to cost $201,574, the Economic Development Authority reported.

”Now we’ve got some people interested in some of the other vacant buildings in town,” Mayor Phil Heinlen said. ”That’s a good thing.”

The Lohrville project is called Cruisin’ Back to Third and Main.

Lohrville Mayor Donny Hobbs said the old gas station has been abandoned for ”quite a few decades.” He said the property owners, Joe and Sheila Berger, want to gut the building and remodel it.

According to Hobbs, the goal is to recreate the look of an old time gas station. Inside will be a small gathering space for car clubs and other groups.

The project’s estimated cost is $231,000.

Hobbs said it’s hoped that the project will be a catalyst that will lead to sprucing up the rest of the Calhoun County community’s Main Street.