Downtown Façade Project History
Montezuma Community Development Corporation and Poweshiek Iowa Development began working with the City of Montezuma and Montezuma’s downtown businesses and building owners in the spring of 2012 to begin talking about downtown redevelopment. The timing to begin the dialogue came on the heals of learning that Montezuma’s downtown would be recognized by the National Park District as a National Historic District. Information obtained from the 2009 Monte 202o effort and recommendations from Montezuma’s 2011 Housing Study were also strong indicators of the need to make downtown redevelopment a priority.
In April 2012, a small group of community leaders, local officials, and downtown building owners met with the Iowa Economic Development Authority to talk about possible grant funding for downtown façade improvements. The information was well received, so the following month Montezuma Community Development began conducting small focus groups who participated in a SWOT analysis of community and downtown assets. As consensus began to build, the need for continued study was recommended as necessary criteria to apply for any future grant funding for downtown improvements. As a result, the City of Montezuma agreed to fund a $2500 community engagement with the Iowa Downtown Resource Center through the IEDA. In mid-October, 90 local volunteers gathered for group interviews to provide public input that was later condensed into a written plan and recommendations by the IEDA for the future of Montezuma’s downtown.
Momentum for Community Development Block Grant
Montezuma Community Development continued to work with the City of Montezuma and downtown building owners into the fall months to prepare for a CDBG application for future façade improvements. Preliminary cost estimates and architectural renderings for each downtown façade were gathered at a total cost of $5500. The City of Montezuma funded 50% of the cost, while the Montezuma Community Foundation funded the balance. By January 2013, building owners for 19 buildings within the National Historic District had expressed interest in pursuing the grant by indicating their financial commitment to match up a minimum of 10% of the total cost of each façade project. In addition, the City of Montezuma agreed to contribute up to $393,000 towards the project. Combined with the city’s contribution, building owner match, private investment, and possible grant funding, the $1.052M project is nearing reality.
Grant Funds and Project Pending
Research for the grant was completed at the local level, while Region 6 Planning prepared and submitted the grant application at the end of January 2013. In June of 2013, it was announced that Montezuma was awarded the $500,000 grant. Initial meetings with the architect firm began in 2013 and construction will begin in 2014 and be completed approximately one year later.