Downtown Façade Improvement Program

Background

In 2016 the Oskaloosa City Council and local property owners partnered to submit a grant application to the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) for Downtown Revitalization Program Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding. The focus was to eliminate "slum and blight" in downtown Oskaloosa by completing important building façade repairs and storefront improvements while respecting historic character.  The city was awarded a $500,000 grant and construction was completed in 2018.

The success of this first phase led to a second grant and construction phase, completed in 2020, and also a third phase completed in February 2023.  Oskaloosa is fortunate to be the first city in Iowa to receive three (3) federal CDBG grants (totaling $1.5 million) to help revitalize our downtown.  Three additional phases are envisioned for 2023-2029, subject to funding and participation.  More information on the phases can be found below.

Owner Participation

To participate, a property owner must pay for approximately 25% of the construction cost, commit to the program throughout the grant period, sign related documents, make timely payments, and follow all related grant requirements The CDBG grant pays for roughly 50% of the construction cost plus materials testing and grant administration fees.  The city pays for initial architectural design concepts and grant application fees.  If the grant is awarded, the city will pay for structural assessments, final architectural design and construction plans, insurance and recording fees, and roughly 25% of the construction cost.  The city and project team will also coordinate all necessary approvals, advertise for bids, procure contractors and services, and manage the grant and construction process.  

Project Completion Year & Location

Phase I (2018) - north of the Square, between High Avenue and A Avenue, and North A Street and North 2nd Street.
Phase II (2020) - west of the Square, between High Avenue and 1st Avenue, and Market Street and Penn Central Mall.
Phase III (2023) - south of the Square, between 1st Avenue and 2nd Avenue, and Market Street and South 1st Street.
Phase IV (proposed 2025) - 500 and/or 600 blocks of High Avenue West. Initial design concepts were prepared and reviewed. Despite positive initial feedback, there was not enough owner interest or qualifying buildings to satisfy a CDBG grant application for this area. The city hopes to continue its assistance with historic facade improvements and will review other available options for 2024-2025.
Phase V proposed (2027) - target any qualifying buildings or areas not included in earlier phases (subject to funding, owner participation, and grant award).
Phase VI proposed (2029) - target any qualifying buildings or areas not included in earlier phases (subject to funding, owner participation, a116 1AEnd grant award).












Phase III (2021-2023) - Project Description

Phase 3 focuses on six (6) buildings (11 facades) on the south side of Oskaloosa’s town square. Qualified buildings will receive façade improvements similar to prior phases. Curtis Architecture & Design again provided architectural services and facilitated the historic review and approval processes. Funding was provided by the City of Oskaloosa, a CDBG Grant through the Iowa Economic Development Authority, and property owners. Click here to view the façade designs.

Phase III Status: COMPLETE

The construction contract was awarded to Christner Contracting Inc. (CCI) of Ottumwa, IA .  Construction began in September 2021 and was completed in February 2023.

Phase III Funding:

Funding SourceAmount
IEDA - CDBG grant$500,000.00
City - Tax Increment Finance$339,465.00
Property Owners$222,546.00
Total$1,062,011.00

Construction Start Date: 09/07/2021
Completion: 02/23/2023

Phase II (2019-2020) - Project Description

This second phase was similar to the first phase, but focused on six (6) buildings directly west of the town square. Qualified buildings were selected through a similar method as the Phase I project and the work included similar types of repair. Curtis Architecture & Design provided the architectural services for this project, and facilitated the historic review and approval processes. Funding for this project came from the City of Oskaloosa, a Community Development Block Grant through the Iowa Economic Development Authority, and property owners. See facade designs (PDF).

phase 2 rendering

Phase II Status: COMPLETE

The construction contract was awarded to Cornerstone Commercial Contractors, Inc. of Corning, IA.  Construction began in August 2019 and was completed in September 2020.

Phase II Funding:

Funding SourceAmount
IEDA - CDBG grant$500,000.00
City - Tax Increment Finance$264,371.00
Property Owners$198,741.00
Total$963,112.00

Construction Start Date: 08/05/2019
Completion: 09/30/2020

117-113 High Avenue West (300x233).jpg

Phase I (2017-2018) - Project Description
The project included restoration of the façades of eighteen (18) downtown buildings on the north side of the Oskaloosa town square. Buildings include a mix of non-historic and historically significant buildings within the Historic District. The buildings included in the project were identified through a formal "Slum & Blight Survey" and were deemed in need of repair. The designs for the façade restoration were prepared by Curtis Architecture & Design (project architect) and have been approved by the Oskaloosa Historic Preservation Commission and the Iowa State Historic Preservation Office. Funding for this project comes through the City of Oskaloosa, a Community Development Block Grant through the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the George Daily Family Trust, and property owners. See facade designs (PDF).

Phase I Status: COMPLETE

The construction contract was awarded to Christner Contracting Inc. of Ottumwa, IA and construction was completed between May 2017 and August 2018.

Phase I Funding:

Funding SourceAmount
IEDA - CDBG grant$500,000.00
City - Tax Increment Finance$287,439.49
Property Owners$240,561.69
George Daily Family Trust$117,318.00
Total$1,145,319.18

Construction Start Date: 05/01/2017
Completion: 8/07/2018