$75,000 Challenge Grant for “Putting Back the Ritz”

Projects will leverage private investments to revitalize downtowns across the state
For more information, contact:
Jacque Matsen, 515.348.6245
November 7, 2019 (DES MOINES) — The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) today awarded Main Street Centerville a $75,000 grant for the “Putting Back the Ritz” Ritz Theater project.  State Representative Holly Brink, Senator Ken Rozenboom, ACCA (Appanoose County Coalition for the Arts) Board President Nancy Bennett, Main Street Treasurer/Secretary Judy Dorman and Main Street Centerville Business Development Committee Chair Dustin Harvey attended the event held at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden.  Thirteen other Main Street Iowa communities also received grants that will benefit local improvement projects, including upper story renovations, critical building stabilization, and façade restoration and upgrades. A total of $1 million was awarded during the ceremony.
“Main Street Centerville’s (MSC) goal is to build value and appeal to the downtown by the rehabilitation of the historic core of the community. Restoration of the Ritz Theater is a large part of demonstrating the realities of downtown rehabilitation.  The Ritz has been empty or under-utilized for more than forty years leaving a significant hole in our historic downtown. Funding from this Challenge Grant will save this iconic building from falling in and ensure that it is passed on to future generations to come” Mary Wells, Executive Director Main Street Centerville         
The grants are administered through IEDA’s Iowa Downtown Resource Center and Main Street Iowa programs. The funding will be distributed in the form of matching grants to the selected Main Street programs. The estimated total project cost of these 14 projects is over $3.2 million.
“The Main Street Iowa Challenge grants have been instrumental in revitalizing Iowa’s historic main streets,” said IEDA and Iowa Finance Authority Director Debi Durham. “Reinvesting in our traditional commercial districts is good business.  It’s good for our economy and good for our state. These projects will bring new businesses and new residents to our downtown districts.”
Since the first Challenge Grants were awarded in 2002, approximately $10.6 million in state and federal funds have leveraged more than $59 million in private investment. Over the life of the program, 179 projects in 54 Main Street Iowa commercial districts across the state have received funding.
“Each project must provide at least a dollar-for-dollar cash-match,” said Michael Wagler, state coordinator for the Main Street Iowa program. “In total, these projects will actually leverage significantly more than the state’s investment into bricks and mortar rehabilitation.  This investment will have a significant economic impact within each district.”