Martha Ellen Tye announces $400,000 challenge grant for Veterans Memorial Coliseum

CONTRIBUTED GRAPHIC - The proposed Veterans Memorial Coliseum would open in 2020. Total project cost is set for $3.6 million.

The Martha Ellen Tye Foundation announced a $400,000 challenge grant for the renovation of the Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

The fundraising campaign kicked off March 15, the 90th anniversary of the building’s dedication in downtown Marshalltown. With a total project cost of $3.6 million, $1.35 million is being raised in private donations to supplement insurance money, grants and other funds.

The $400,000 challenge grant from the Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation comes with the caveat that the city raise an additional $400,000 in donations to receive the full amount.

“The Martha Ellen Tye Foundation is the catalyst we need to jump start this project, and we encourage the community and local businesses to help support the renovation of the coliseum and match this grant,” Parks and Recreating Director Geoff Hubbard said. “Once rebuilt we hope the coliseum becomes the heart and soul of the downtown, full of activities and events for the community to participate in and a gather space for people to enjoy.”

The coliseum, used by hundreds of residents each year largely for recreation, was severely damaged in the July 2018 tornado with much of its roof landing on nearby city hall. Sprinkler heads erupted in the storm and water poured in for hours until it could be shut off.

Part of the renovations will include Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, making the entire space accessible. Hubbard said the stadium seating and stage will be removed to make room for two full-size basketball courts. Indoor soccer and pickleball are also planned. The city council has discussed a space in the renovated coliseum be made available for senior citizens.

The Veterans Memorial Coliseum was originally built as a memorial to Marshalltown residents who had fought in and/or lost their lives in the Civil War, Spanish War and World War I.

Donations can be made online at www.mtowncoliseum.com or by mail to the Veterans Memorial Coliseum Fund, 24 N. Center St., Marshalltown, Iowa 50158.