Gallery Garden open house Thursday

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO 
Steve Bolar of Marshalltown is shown enjoying a cup of coffee in the local Gallery Garden in the 100 block of East Main Street. The Gallery Garden is a privately owned, one-of-a-kind urban-style green space open to the public. It was developed to address storm water runoff. Additionally, it features artwork and a sculpture.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Steve Bolar of Marshalltown is shown enjoying a cup of coffee in the local Gallery Garden in the 100 block of East Main Street. The Gallery Garden is a privately owned, one-of-a-kind urban-style green space open to the public. It was developed to address storm water runoff. Additionally, it features artwork and a sculpture.

More than five and one-half years ago, the burnt-out shell of a three-story building at 135 E. Main St. greeted shoppers and workers in the heart of Marshalltown’s downtown. A 100-year old historic property which once housed the Marshalltown Business College, later, KFJB-AM, and finally, a street-level grocery store and other businesses was completely destroyed in a fire set by an arsonist.

Fast forward from February of 2012 to present day, and now a dramatically different site greets shoppers and workers.

All will be showcased Thursday at 2 p.m., when co-owner Bard Hagstrand of Marshalltown and others will join for a ribbon cutting and celebration open to the public.

Showcased will be a water garden, with rows and rows of green plants adorning the Kibbey Building’s east wall just below a giant metal butterfly.

Plants were placed vertically and irrigated with storm water from the roof. Storm water is collected in cisterns underneath an adjoining parking lot and then recycled to the east wall. Additionally, the Gallery Garden compliments a major rehabilitation of the Kibbey building’s interior. Marshalltown Mayor Jim Lowrance identified work on the site as a 2016 community highlight.

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Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com