Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant Available

Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant Available

Main Street Challenge Grant is available now. Due back to Centerville office by 8.16.21 at 4 pm.

 Main Street Iowa and the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) are proud to announce the availability of Main Street Iowa Challenge Grants. 

A state appropriation was made to the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) for the Main Street Iowa Program to assist participating cities to improve the physical and economic health of their designated Main Street districts.  This state appropriation will allow Main Street Iowa to offer matching Challenge Grants to participating communities for vertical infrastructure projects. 

Funds will be awarded to eligible applicants for bricks and mortar projects within designated Main Street Iowa districts.

Each program may receive a single award from this funding round.  Only one application per program is allowed.  The local Main Street Iowa program MUST be the applicant on behalf of the local property owner(s) as the grant beneficiary. 

Main Street Iowa staff will review all applications for eligibility, project impact within the designated Main Street district, design appropriateness, innovation, and utilization of the Iowa Green Streets Criteria.  Successful applicants will be notified in writing of the grant awards. 

All awarded projects must agree to provide Main Street Iowa with appropriate budgetary information and expenditures.  Main Street Iowa also reserves the right to share this information, including before, during and after photographs of each project for educational and promotional purposes to further the mission of historic commercial district revitalization in the context of historic preservation. 

The PRIMARY goals of the MSI Challenge grant are:

a. Stimulate appropriate building rehab of significant commercial historic buildings in Main Street districts.

b. Stimulate appropriate infill development in downtown districts

c. Create a positive climate for additional investment – public and private

d. Support local revitalization efforts.

e. Demonstrate “Main Street at work” in the local community

f. Provide local Main Street programs with an exclusive financial incentive program

g. Create additional jobs and business growth 

These goals will be achieved through:

a. Quality historic property rehabilitation

b. Creating downtown housing – particularly upper floor housing

c. Creating unique business locations

d. Context-sensitive infill development

e. Strategic investment by IEDA into key local projects

f. Research and utilization of appropriate available financial resources/programs

g. Creating local job and business opportunities 


Main Street Iowa communities with current contracts who are meeting all contractual obligations including National Main Street Accreditation once within the past three years will be considered eligible for the Main Street Grant funds.  Eligible projects must be within the designated Main Street district.  Only the Main Street organization in participating communities may submit applications on behalf of local projects, properties, and businesses. Awards will be made to the applicant Main Street organization, hereafter referred to as the Grantee, for disbursements to locally designated grant beneficiaries.


Maximum awards for this grant round will be $100,000.  Minimum grants will be no less than $25,000. No program shall receive more than one award per application round. 


The grantee must show community support evidenced by the local contributing effort.  Grantee or the grant beneficiary(s) must invest at a minimum a dollar for dollar cash match and must supply requested financial information to show that the match requirement is being satisfied.

 Grantee and all Grant Beneficiaries agree, to the best of their ability, to complete designated projects within 24 months of award notification or show just cause for the delay.

 Main Street Iowa programs in good standing and in compliance with all contractual requirements from previously awarded funds if any, may apply on behalf of a property or project within the designated district.  Only one submission per program, per round, will be permitted.                                                                


Rehabilitation and/or restoration of significant commercial properties within the designated Main Street district.  This can include, but is not limited to:

– Façade improvements (Front, rear, and side)

 Upper floor interior rehabilitation

 Structural repairs/improvements

 Code compliance

 First-floor interior rehabilitation

 Energy efficiency/sustainability improvements

 The single specific phase of a large rehab.  The project must have a specific defined focus and clearly identifiable scope of work including start/end dates and milestones for completion.

Compatible New Construction including building additions with first-floor commercial and upper floor(s) Commercial or residential within the designated Main Street district.  Razing of an existing structure to allow for new construction will not be considered an eligible use of funds. 

Multiple properties committed to a mutually agreed-upon improvement or series of improvements located within the designated Main Street district.  All multiple properties applications must be connected by a common need or issue that defines the scope/type of proposed project.  For instance, a series of rear entrances visible from a parking lot; the removal of inappropriate slipcovers/siding materials and façade restoration for several buildings, multiple upper floor rehabilitations, etc. Multiple properties are not required to be contiguous.  However, close physical proximity does improve the project impact within the district.  Multiple property projects may include, but are not limited to, the following:

– Installation of an elevator and common hallway linking several buildings;

– A sprinkling of multiple properties with a central master control room. 

– Handicapped accessibility improvements serving multiple buildings/storefronts like a common ramp or lift.

-Energy efficiency/sustainability upgrades like green roofs for multiple buildings, geo-thermal well fields, etc.

– Improvements to the facades (front or rear) of a highly visible group or block of buildings;

-Upper floor rehabilitation for several properties.

Programs considering a Multiple Properties application are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to discuss your application with Main Street Iowa Staff before submission. 


No previous expenditures of any kind will be considered as a suitable cash match for a project. This statement applies to both new applicants and additional submissions for phased projects.

A dollar-for-dollar (1:1) CASH match is required for ALL projects.  In-kind contributions, while important, cannot be used to meet match requirements for any project. 

The match requirement may include necessary project “soft” costs for professional service i.e. architectural or engineering directly related to the project/property.  

EACH structure included as part of a MULTIPLE PROPERTIES application must meet the individual minimum project investment threshold ($15,000 grant/$30,000 minimum total investment.)  For example, this applies to multiple façade improvements, upper floor rehabs or energy efficiency/sustainability improvements.  It does not apply if the project is a large, single investment that impacts several properties like a common elevator or fire suppression system. 

NOTE:  Previous Grant Beneficiaries (projects/buildings) who are completing a large, phased project may apply for additional Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant funding so long as the scope of work authorized in the previous award is complete and all funds dispersed.

Please give me a call or send me an email with any questions you may have.