200 East State Street

The City of Jefferson is seeing new improvements to drive people to live in the downtown area.

The City Council approved at their March 22nd meeting two development agreements and forgivable loans from a $435,000 and a $500,000 Community Development Block Grants from Iowa Economic Development Authority for two upper story apartment projects at 200 East State Street and 123 North Chestnut Street, respectively.

City Administrator Mike Palmer says each grant had to have a governmental entity apply for the funds and there are agreements in place in case either project wouldn’t be completed, there would be a lien against the property and that the developers would have to use the grant funds properly. He talks about the details of each project, starting with 200 East State Street that developer Chris Deal now owns.

“They (will) build three apartment units. Two of the three have to be low to moderate income levels, which in Jefferson most people are going to be able to qualify. It has to stay at those levels for five years and then it’s totally released to go to market rates.”

Palmer notes a similar project is happening at 123 North Chestnut Street or The Public House, owned by Amanda and Addi Bills, are going to renovate six apartments, of which five have to be classified as low to moderate income for five years as well. He adds the apartments must be completed first, before work can begin on the main floor with the restaurant business.  

Jefferson Matters: A Main Street and Chamber Community Board President Jamie Daubendiek is excited to see upper story living becoming a main part of the downtown area.

123 North Chestnut Street

“This is a core staple to the Main Street (Iowa) philosophy. It’s getting a vibrant downtown you need people living downtown. Like these places felt like it was a downtown loft in Des Moines and it’s what a lot of the younger generation wants. That’s where we’ve been successful in leveraging a lot of grants and opportunities to make these realities happen because it takes money ultimately.”   

Palmer says now that the City had relinquished its last downtown building to private ownership, he is also excited to see that private investment do more to expand the downtown area.