The Design Committee has been busy elves getting the downtown ready for the winter. Twelve new “Joy” banners were added around the perimeter of the square along with the “Joy in Jefferson” banners along Lincoln Way from last year. Chris Heisterkamp led this project. The twelve pillar planters were decorated with evergreens by the Flower Power volunteers led by Karen Lawton & Kathy Milligan. The banners and planters are funded through Grow Greene County funds given to the City of Jefferson. The empty storefront of the former Homestead building was decorated with a winter scene by Mikki Schwarkopf, Becci Hamilton and Susan Fray. Thanks to all of these creative volunteers for sharing their time & talents.
The Promotion Committee of Jefferson Matters: Main Street invites the public to the Thomas Jefferson Gardens for the annual Community Christmas Tree Lighting on Thursday, December 7 at 5:30 p.m. Santa will arrive spectacularly to light the Christmas tree outside in the Gardens. Carols will be sung by the roving Jazzatonics Choir of Greene County High School. Refreshments of hot cocoa and cookies will be served by committee members. The first 200 children will receive a glow stick to wear to light up the evening. After Santa lights the tree, Sugar Plum Fairies from Prairie Blue Creative Arts will dance around it. Reindeer food will be available for kids to attract Santa’s deer as he makes his way on Christmas Eve to homes in the area. Other special activities are being planned as a part of the celebration.
The Thomas Jefferson Garden’s Board will continue the tradition of tagging the tree with a special wish. One tag will be chosen to receive a Christmas prize.
Becky Greiner will provide a Christmas Tower Tunes Live Concert from 5:45 – 6:15 pm on the new 47 bell carillon. Santa Claus will meet youngsters at the top of the Mahanay Bell Tower following the tree lighting. There will be free admission to the tower courtesy of the Bell Tower Foundation. This will also provide a spectacular view of the downtown on a busy evening of shopping.
Jefferson Matters: Main Street’s Christmas chairperson Angie Reese-Hueser exclaimed, “This Christmas tree lighting tradition in downtown Jefferson continues to make wonderful memories for all ages. We hope to host another successful event.”
14 Community Projects Selected for Awards
November 15, 2017 (Des Moines, Iowa) — The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) today awarded $933,300 in Main Street Iowa Challenge Grants to 14 communities around the state. The grants will benefit local improvement projects such as façade upgrades and restoration, upper floor rehabilitation, building stabilization and repairs and remodeled spaces for expanding downtown businesses. The announcements were made during a ceremony held at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden.
“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 financial commitment the people of our state – both our elected officials and private citizens – have made to the revitalization of our historic downtown districts. Rehabilitated downtown buildings create opportunities for new business and new residences in the core of our communities.”
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 the 14 bricks and mortar projects is over $2.7 million.
“Each project must provide at least a dollar-for-dollar cash-match. In total, these projects will leverage three times the state’s investment into bricks and mortar rehabilitation. These projects will also have a significant economic impact within each district and have a direct impact on each community’s downtown revitalization efforts,” explained Main Street Iowa State Coordinator Michael Wagler.
The Challenge Grant program is funded through an appropriation from the Iowa Legislature. Since the first appropriation in 2002 through 2016, approximately $6.8 million in state and federal funds have leveraged over $45 million of private reinvestment. Over the life of the program, 138 projects in 49 Main Street Iowa commercial districts across the state have received funding.
A crowd of about 80 strolled Jefferson’s downtown to hear the architects of Franks Design Group share their perspectives on the historical buildings involved in the CDGB Facade Rehabilitation project. Main Street Director Peg Raney began with introductions and thanks. The group walked from building to building listening to the narrative of the architects for the project, Matthew Miller and Pete Franks. A reception was hosted at Doc’s Stadium following the Stroll.
A Celebration Stroll event to celebrate the thirteen facades involved in the Community Development Block Grant – Façade Rehabilitation project in downtown Jefferson will be held on Monday, November 13 beginning at 5 p.m. on the Bell Tower Plaza. The public is invited to attend the festivities. Introductions will be made on the Plaza followed by a walk along the interior of the square to view the facades. Architects Peter Franks and Matthew Miller will stroll along to make short comments on each façade. Pinnacle Construction’s project manager Austin Kay and construction crew Mike Nicolini and Jeff Boe will be recognized at the event along with other sub-contractors for the project. City administrator Mike Palmer, Building Official Nick Sorensen, the Jefferson City Council, the building owners and business owners were instrumental in this project of historic preservation in the downtown.
The group will stroll east on Lincoln Way to the Greene County Historical Museum, then back to Addie’s, Unger Insurance, around the interior of the square to view Royal Jewelers, John’s Appliance, Masonic Hall, Muir Embroidery, MacDonald Insurance, Fudge’s Flowers & Gifts, Meythaler Photography, Ace Hardware, Doc’s Stadium and the building that housed the former Treasure Chest. The event will end at Doc’s Stadium where Jefferson Matters: Main Street Board members will host light refreshments and a cash bar will be provided. Pictures from various stages of construction from June 2017 following the Bell Tower Festival to date will be shown on the TVs. At Doc’s Stadium there will be a chance to visit with those involved in the project and congratulate the building owners.
The buildings are not expected to be completed by November 13, but the decision was made to host this celebration before the holidays while the weather conducive to a stroll. Watch for info if weather issues arise.
Jefferson Matters: Main Street is the host for this celebration party and encourages the public to attend. Jefferson became a Main Street community in 2012 with a mission to work together to strengthen, support and energize Jefferson’s downtown through historic preservation. The goal of façade rehabilitation was always a goal of the Board of Directors and the City of Jefferson. This $1 million CDBG Façade Rehabilitation project has made a huge impact on the downtown and hopefully spurs on more improvements. The Board wants to extend congratulations and appreciation to those involved.
Work began in the summer of 2015 to determine which building owners were interested in being involved in such a project. Informational meetings were held with the Jefferson City Council committing to provide the $250,000 match and a number of owners deciding to pursue this grant with the required $250,000 match. The experienced architects of Franks Design Group were procured and began meeting individually with the owners and Region XII Council of Governments grant writer Fred Kesten. The grant was submitted with the match and the notice of the $500,000 grant awarded to Jefferson in May 2016. Designs were finalized through the fall of 2016 with construction bids out in the spring of 2017. Pinnacle Construction was awarded the contract with construction beginning after the Bell Tower Festival. Progress has continued steadily with plans still to complete the project by the end of the year. The weather in Iowa will determine how quickly it can be finished.