Clinton receives $100,000 from the state to revitalize downtown

CLINTON, Iowa  --  Clinton was one of 29 Iowa cities to be awarded a grant from the state to improve it's downtown.

The grant was for $100,000 from Iowa Economic Development. It's a 2.9 million dollar project to assists with the redevelopment or deconstruction of buildings "to stimulate economic growth or reinvestment in the community," according to the website. 

"The state of Iowa is very much committed to small towns," Clinton Mayor Mark Vulich said. "they are trying to preserve the concept of the downtown."

Vulich says in the last eight months, eight new businesses have opened in downtown Clinton, so to keep the area growing, they are renovating buildings.

"It's the historical part of Clinton," Vulich said.

The building is from the 1940's and has sat empty for the last 10 years. Non-profit, Downtown Clinton Alliance, purchased the rundown building to redevelop it.

"I see potential," Downtown Clinton Alliance Director Karen Rowell said. "I think we have a lot potential in Clinton. We're hoping we get a young entrepreneur who wants to start a business."

They plan for an apartment upstairs and a commercial property downstairs. The idea behind the non-profit is to buy one small building, flip it, and buy another.

"It needs roofing work," Rowell said. "It's got old pipes and old plumbing."

The city will pay $25,000 towards the project. The Downtown Clinton Alliance will also pay $25,000 to the project. Some of the money for the non-profit comes from taxing downtown businesses extra, but business owners say they don't mind.

"I think the money is well spent," Downtown shop owner Deb Wiese said. "I believe so strongly in downtown that the money does not bother me one bit."

The final price tag for the historic building will be more than $150,000.

"I think one building makes a huge difference," Wiese said. "One building is gonna bring another building."

"It'll never be what it was in the 50's and 60's, but it's going to be a different downtown," Vulich said.

Rowell says they hope construction will begin in May. They say before the state's money, the project would take up to 4 years. Now, with the grant, they estimate it will take one year to complete.

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