Redevelopment gains made in tornado recovery

T-R PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY Marshalltown Central Business District Executive Director Jenny Etter makes remarks to the Marshalltown City Council during its regular meeting Monday night.

Nearly nine months after a devastating EF-3 tornado crushed a number of Main Street buildings from the 100 block of West Main Street to the 100 block of East Main Street, Central Business Director Jenny Etter said now is “an exciting time to be in downtown.”

CBD staff and volunteers have played a significant role, working in partnership with a number of other community stakeholders in to rebuild downtown, Etter said during a quarterly report at Monday’s city council meeting.

Etter said the recently re-opened Black Tire Bike Co. is “gorgeous,” and commended owners, the Gerstandts, for opening up both store fronts at 117 W. Main St.

The family-owned business temporarily rented space at the Marshalltown Mall until repairs were completed at its downtown store.

Additionally, Etter cited significant progress by local contractor Brycon when it demolished and removed the heavily-damaged third floor of the Main Street Mall Antique Building owned by McGregors Furniture.

Meanwhile, repairs to adjoining McGregors Furniture building’s interior and exterior continue five days a week by Brycon.

“They (McGregors) are anxious to get back into their building, and as I understand, it will be installing new windows soon,” she said. “That will require part of West Main Street to continue to be blocked off for the safety of workers.”

McGregors has been renting the former Younkers store site at Marshalltown Mall until construction is complete.

Mayor Joel Greer also promoted gains made by downtown businesses Ocean City Restaurant and Sub City Restaurant. Ocean City has undertaken a major facade rehabilitation which will enhance the building’s original and historic design as a bank.

“They will be launching a “Sushi Bar” in the near future,” Greer said. “Sub City re-opened to accolades as they made major improvements to their business post-tornado.”

Amid the news or redevlopment, Etter’s decision to retire at the end of the year became official last week. Etter said she plans to stay on to train whoever is hired as her replacemnt.

“I want to stick around and have a really nice transition in training the new person and make sure that goes really well – it’s a big job. I’m willing to do that, so (the board) is excited about that,” Etter said.

Looking to the future, Etter said she plans to remain in Marshalltown after her retirement. She wants to pursue other opportunities locally while remaining active in the tornado recovery process.

The next regular meeting of the council is 5:30 p.m. May 13 in council chambers, 10 W. State St. Visit marshalltown-ia.gov for complete agenda packets and subscribe to agenda notices and department news.

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Contact Mike Donahey at

(641) 753-6611 or

mdonahey@timesrepublican.com