MSCD receives state grant for National Register of Historic Places nomination

The Main Street Cultural District (MSCD) was awarded a $3,000 HUD Technical Assistance Challenge Grant through the Iowa Economic Development Authority and Main Street Iowa. The money will be used to complete the National Register of Historic Places nomination for the downtown district. The award ceremony took place on Tuesday, November 29 in Des Moines. “Having our downtown district designated on the National Historic Register will have many benefits to downtown property owners and business owners,” said Cindy Hicks, Executive Director of the Main Street Cultural District. “From tax credits to tourism, this recognition will bring many positive things to downtown Ames.” The grant requires matching funds, which were provided by the Ames City Council last month. The nomination was started several years ago by the city, but never completed. Much of the work is still relevant and can be used. The Main Street Cultural District is working with Iowa State University Assistant Professor in Community and Regional Planning Dr. Ted Grevstad-Nordbrock. Dr. Grevstad-Nordbrock currently teaches historic preservation classes at ISU and sits on the Preservation Iowa Board of Directors. Dr. Gloria Betcher, city council representative for ward one which includes the downtown district, will provide consultation for the nomination. Dr. Betcher was part of the team who started the nomination process in 2011 and is a former board member of Preservation Iowa. “The City Council is happy to partner with the Main Street Cultural District to complete this survey, which has been a long time in the making,” Betcher said. “Getting the downtown placed on the National Register of Historic Places should open up opportunities for historic preservation tax credits that can help to fund much-needed building improvements.” Ames is one of 12 Main Street communities to receive the Technical Assistance grant which is designed to provide professional services to develop projects such as historic research, architectural and engineering services and community and business sign programs. This is the fourth year in a row the MSCD has received a Main Street Challenge Grant. Each project must provide at least a dollar-for-dollar cash-match for each of the grants,” said Main Street Iowa State Coordinator Michael Wagler. “These projects will have a significant economic impact within each district and they will have a direct impact on each community’s downtown revitalization efforts.” If the MSCD is able to meet the next nomination deadline of April 3, and the nomination meets all of the criteria, the district could be listed on the register by the end of 2017 or beginning of 2018.