Community Development, Funding Opportunities, Monona County Economic Development

Monona County Couple Secures 2020 Community Catalyst Building Remediation Grant to Restore Downtown Mapleton Building.

By admin on August 31, 2020 0 Comments

September 1, 2020 (Monona County) – Samantha and Matthew Kelm recently purchased a beautiful downtown corner building with hopes of restoring it to its original glory providing much needed commercial retail space and housing to the community of Mapleton, IA.

In the fall of 2019, they set out to apply for the $100,000 grant that both the City of Mapleton itself and John Gruinisen in Onawa had received the prior year.

In order to be considered for the grant, the couple had to go through a pre-application phase of creating a business plan, providing photographs, and explaining in detail how their plans would be a catalyst for future growth and investment in their community.

It is important to note for anyone who is interested in applying for this grant, that the entire grant process has to go through the city in which the building is in. Individuals cannot receive this grant alone. The City of Mapleton committed to providing a cash match of $5,000 along with in-kind support through utility work for the project.

After being pre-approved in 2019 and invited to formally apply for the grant, the couple had to get bids from contractors, and provide detailed blue prints of the plans to revitalize this building. Scoring criteria was based on project impact, appropriateness, funding/partnerships and incorporation of sustainability/smart growth principles. The City of Mapleton then submitted the formal application for the grant.

On July 7, 2020 The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) announced that $2.6 million in Community Catalyst Building Remediation grants had been awarded to 26 Iowa communities, and the Kelm’s were one of the recipients!

Now that they have secured $100,000 in matching funds for their project, they plan to move forward with work on the structure of the building. This will include things such as replacing windows, restoring the aerial, restoring doors, and re-painting. They plan to do this all while honoring the original integrity of the building.

Samantha and Matthew will announce their detailed plans for the building sometime either late 2020, or early 2021. They did state publicly that in the near future they will have gorgeous apartments in the upstairs for rent.

“I want people to see the outside with the beautiful store front and redone aerial as a piece of art in the town. I also would love for them to walk in and have it just take their breath away at the restoration and beauty that we have created. My husband and I have such a love for our local history and all the historical buildings that we have here in Monona County. We are so excited and blessed to have this opportunity.” – Samantha Kelm

The Community Catalyst program was initiated in 2018 by IEDA to help create fundamental, positive change in Iowa’s downtowns. The grants, $100,000 per community, assist with the redevelopment, remediation or rehabilitation of buildings to stimulate economic growth and reinvestment.

For more information on the Community Catalyst program, contact Monona County Economic Development or visit

You will want to get approval from your local city council before moving forward with the application for this grant.

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