Projects will leverage private investments to revitalize downtowns across the state

November 8, 2018 (DES MOINES, IOWA) — The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) today awarded Czech Village – New Bohemia Main Street District a $60,000 grant for the Czech Cottage Rehabilitation.  Bob Schaffer, Jennifer Pruden, and Chris Wand represented the Czech Village – New Bohemia Main Street District at the event. Twelve other Main Street Iowa communities also received grants.

The extensive restoration of the Czech Cottage, a major gateway building into the Czech Village neighborhood, will dramatically improve the physical appearance of a key contributing historic structure. Several later, non-historic modifications will be removed and replaced with historically appropriate materials. In addition, a second-story apartment unit will be dramatically renovated to meet the current needs of the high-demand urban housing market in Cedar Rapids.

“The Main Street Iowa Challenge grants have proven to be catalysts for the revitalization of Iowa’s historic main streets,” said IEDA Director Debi Durham. “These projects demonstrate the ongoing commitment the people of our state have to keeping our downtowns vibrant, which helps attract new visitors, residents and businesses.”

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 13 projects is over $8.7 million.

“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 more than nine times the state’s investment into bricks and mortar rehabilitation that will have a significant economic impact within each district.”

The Challenge Grant program is funded through an appropriation from the Iowa Legislature.  Since the first appropriation in 2002, approximately $9.6 million in state and federal funds have leveraged more than $57 million in private investment. Over the life of the program, 165 projects in 53 Main Street Iowa commercial districts across the state have received funding.

For more information about the Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant program, contact Michael Wagler at 515.348.6184 or

Photo of the current Czech Cottage Building 16th Ave Czech Village: