Now is a great time for Main Street District property owners to plan for building improvements to the exterior of their buildings for the spring. The Design Committee offers a Mini-grant of up to $250 reimbursable for these eligible projects: paint, tuck-pointing, replacement of windows and doors and removal of non-conforming elements of a building. The short application can be completed and dropped off at the Main Street Office or mailed to P.O. Box 13. The Design Committee has worked with the City Council to determine Downtown Building Design Guidelines which the Council approved in January of 2016. These are recommended procedures for making improvements. The Design committee also has a group of volunteers who may assist with these improvements!
The Design Committee of Jefferson Matters: Main Street is responsible for the beautiful wintery mix of evergreens in the 12 pillar planters in the downtown. Jean Walker, Karen Lawton & Kathy Milligan chair this project and were joined by 13 elves on Friday, Dec. 2 to fill the planters. These planters will remain throughout the winter.
Another project of the Design Committee was the seasonal banners down Lincoln Way. The winter banners, Joy in Jefferson, were designed through this committee with Chris Heisterkamp leading this project. These stunning banners will remain throughout the winter season. Plans are for additional banners around the entire square in the coming year.
Funding for these downtown beautification projects are through Grow Greene County Gaming Corporation municipal funds for projects of the City Council’s choice.
The Thomas Jefferson Gardens was the site for this year’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting on Thursday, Dec. 1. People of all ages gathered around the gardens to sip hot chocolate, tag the tree and listen to the Greene County Singers early. At 5:30 p.m., Santa Claus arrived by police escort on a lighted golf cart to the glee of the crowd. He talked with the children as they moved around the tree. With MC Don VanGilder’s count down, the Christmas tree was lit with hundreds of white lights. The Sugar Plum Fairies danced around the tree and more carols were sung. Chairperson Angie Reese-Hueser was delighted with the turn-out and felt everything was spectacular. She added a few new ideas with several photo ops and reindeer food for Christmas Eve available. Santa headed to the top of the Mahanay Bell Tower where free rides to the top allowed families to visit with him while overlooking the community. The live Christmas tree for the lighting was donated by Deal’s Orchard.
Over 100 people attended the first Family Feud-Jefferson Edition held on Nov. 19 at History Boy Theater in Jefferson’s Main Street District. Those attending enjoyed appetizers from the many great restaurants in Jefferson for the first hour. At 7:30, host Doug Rieder was introduced and the Feud began between Greene County Schools Cardigan Crew and Mom Jeans 4 Life with the MJ4L winning the traveling trophy. The second round was between teams of Bunkers Dunkers and The Righteous Sisters. The Bunkers family rallied to win the Champion traveling trophy. Throughout the show, commercials were acted out by the sponsors of Jefferson Telecom, RVP~1875, Raccoon Valley Radio and Greene County Medical Center. Home State Bank was also a sponsor of the FUNraising event. Comments helped to conclude that this is the first of an annual event with many in the audience asking about forming teams for next year. All proceeds will go towards projects of Jefferson Matters: Main Street. For more pics from the evening, see the gallery on our website.
A contingency of Jefferson Matters: Main Street and City of Jefferson officials were in Des Moines on Tuesday, Nov. 29 to receive two grant awards. The Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant of $74,500 was received for the Kendall Building on Lincoln Way. This building was acquired by the City with a commitment of $150,000 in TIF funds for an excellent business plan that included historic preservation of the property. Rosie & Ray Tucker returned to their hometown of Jefferson to open their boutique, Sensibly Chic. The Tuckers also plan to renovate the second floor as their living quarters. A match of funds from the TIF money and Tucker’s own financing made this grant successful for the Main Street Iowa staff. The Tuckers plan to refinish the original wood floor, refurbish the original tin ceiling, add a vintage staircase in the alley to their living quarters, add new electrical and plumbing, tuck point the façade on the front and alley, and add vintage exterior doors and lighting with the grant funds.
Each Main Street community can apply for one Challenge Grant a year for interior and exterior work of a building in the Main Street District. This is the first year Jefferson has been awarded this grant since it became a Main Street community in 2012.
The second grant was a Technical Assistance Challenge Grant for $5,000. This was offered for professional services only so Jefferson applied to work with RDG of Des Moines on an updated brand and plans for wayfinding signage throughout the community. A committee of Main Street, City & Chamber reps will work on this during the winter months.