In the March 10th meeting of the Clarke County Development Corporation (CCDC), the board unanimously approved a $50,000 grant to Osceola Chamber Main Street (OCMS) to seed an exciting new building improvement program throughout the city. The program, designed and managed by the OCMS Board, is focused on promoting and supporting Osceola’s local businesses and business owners.

The OCMS Building Improvement Grant program is designed to restore and preserve city-wide business properties as well as Osceola’s Main Street Historical Commercial District. The grant is available to chamber member businesses looking to close the cost gaps associated to making aesthetic and structural improvements to their buildings. OCMS members who are owners or tenants of an Osceola commercial property can submit an application to receive a 50% reimbursement of funds up to $15,000 each to help cover the costs of exterior rehabilitation expenses. By providing this financial assistance, OCMS and the CCDC hope to positively impact the quality of life, perception, and marketability of the City of Osceola.

business grants for osceola iowa

The Junction Creamery building updates included new roofs on the building and the storage shed, replacement of two front windows, new trim and fascia, new paint, and more.

“It’s hard for businesses to come by the extra income needed for building upkeep and maintenance,” said Ashleigh Eckles, Executive Director of OCMS. “This grant is a Chamber benefit to help our business owners preserve the integrity of Osceola and its unique character.”

Junction Creamery, located on McLane Street in Osceola, is the first business to take advantage of this grant program. They applied for the grant during the COVID shutdown in 2020 and was able to make numerous exterior improvements to the 50-year-old building before they opened for seasonal business on March 1st. Total repairs to the Junction Creamery building included new roofs on the building and the storage shed, replacement of two front windows, new trim and fascia, new paint, and other items.

“We’re only open for a few months each year,” said Kim Short, Junction Creamery owner. “It would have taken us years to pay for everything we needed to do without this grant. We’re really grateful to have had the opportunity.”

“{Junction Creamery} has been part of the Osceola community in one way or another since the 70’s,” said Eckles. “It’s important to help these businesses make ends meet so we can sustain and build on the Osceola quality of life.”

So far in 2021, three additional applicants have been approved, but the OCMS team is encouraging more business to take part. While the Chamber will supply guidance and resources along with the matching grant, there are certain guidelines that must be followed.

  • Funds must be for exterior improvements only
  • Aluminum vinyl siding is prohibited in the downtown historical district (City historical guidelines will apply for renovations on the square and other areas)
  • Applications and plans must be submitted for review prior to work beginning
  • Applications and plans will be reviewed by the OCMS Design Committee
  • All work must be completed within 12 months of grant approval

 

“The challenge for these small retail businesses has always been to create enough return on investment to also take care of their properties,” said Bill Trickey, Executive Director of the CCDC. “This grant gives us and the Chamber a way to augment what those owners are putting back into the community to make sure Osceola remains a vibrant and progressive business economy.”

building improvement grant OCMS

Interested business owners can click on the grant application image to download the forms to get started, or they can pick up the information at the OCMS office at 115 E. Washington Street.

For more information about the OCMS Building Improvement Grant or if you have additional questions, please contact Ashleigh Eckles, Executive Director of the Osceola Chamber Main Street at 115 E Washington St, Osceola, IA 50213, phone: 641-342-4200, or email [email protected]

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