Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Chariton receives major housing grant

Chariton has been awarded $1,140,873 in Community Development Block Grant funds to convert unused upper-story space on the square into 10 rental apartments, Mayor Roger D. Manser announced at Monday’s City Council meeting.

The city became aware of the grant opportunity earlier this year because of Chariton’s status as a Main Street Iowa community. The Chariton Area Chamber/Main Street staff worked with the city and building owners to prepare the grant application.

Buildings involved will be the south part of the Smyth Block at the northwest corner of the square, owned by Amanda and Jason Demichelis; and the south portion of the Piper’s Building, owned by Jill Kerns, and the former Klaassen Drug Store building, owned by Betty Hansen, both at the northeast corner of the square. Upper-story areas of all three buildings have been unoccupied for many years.

Under terms of the grant contract, construction must begin prior to Oct. 1. Both building owners and the city must provide 10 percent of project cost as matching funds. Tenants of the new apartments will be eligible for rental assistance if they meet income guidelines.

As an example of what will be done, preliminary plans for the Piper’s building, which dates from ca. 1888-90, call for conversion of what once were three small apartments and/or offices into two larger apartments, according to Kerns. The remaining apartments will be located in the larger Demichelis and Hansen buildings.

The grant was awarded earlier this month by the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Iowa received the money initially from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development during 2008 and 2009 to assist in recovery from 2008 floods, but not all funds were needed for that effort.

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