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Downtown development, restoration kicks into high gear

Central Business District highlights progress

T-R PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY
Debra Hippler of Marshalltown listens to Jose Zaragoza’s impressions of a recently refurbished apartment available to rent on the second floor of the Black Tire Bicycle Co. building in the 100 block of West Main Street. Hippler staged the apartment for owners Matt and Cassandra Gertstand of Marshalltown as part of a Central Business District-sponsored restoration tour Saturday.

Many local entrepreneurs who have made significant “sweat equity” and private investment into businesses and living quarters have established a dynamic model for others to follow.

Barb Hagstrand, J.P. and Jennifer Howard, Dan and Laura Kester, Matt and Cassandra Gerstandt and Jeff Mitchell, among others, had the foresight and perseverance to make what many want downtown to become – street level businesses and services with apartments above.

For example, the July 2018 tornado motivated the Gerstandts to expand their Black Tire Bicycle Co. business at 117 W. Main St. while remodeling two apartments – now available to rent – which were unveiled Saturday as part of a Central Business District-sponsored Downtown Restoration Tour, formerly known as the Treasures Tour.

Other pre- and post tornado restored properties available for primarily self-guided tours Saturday were:

• Tremont on Main, 24 W. Main St. (Howards)

T-R PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY
Kim Schryver of Marshalltown, back to camera, listens to an explanation from architect Heidi Hogan of the local Wertzberger Architects concerning extensive remodeling plans for the local McGregor Building in the Orpheum Theater’s Black Box Theater Saturday. It was part of a Central Business District-sponsored Restoration Tour of five downtown properties.

• Iowa Railway & Light Building, 119 E. Main St. (Kesters)

• Bowman Building, 19 S. Second Ave. (Hagstrand)

• Kibbey Building, 127 E. Main St. (Hagstrand and Mitchell)

• Van Gogh’s 129 W. Main St.

• Sub City, 8 E. Main St.

The day started at 1 p.m. in the Orpheum’s Black Box Theater, where attendees had the exclusive opportunity to view architectural site plans by Wertzberger Architects P.C. and TSP, intending to significantly restore the following businesses:

• Zamora Fresh Market, 4 E. Main St.

• McGregors Furniture, 111 W. Main St.

• Main Street Antiques, 105 W. Main St.

• The Flying Elbow, 35 N. Center St.

• Youth & Shelter Services, 22 N. Center St.

• Abarrotes Villachuato, 107 N. Center St.

The latest updates on renovating the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 20 W. State St., was also available.

Parks and Recreation Director Geoff Hubbard and a committee of six have outlined grand plans for the venerable building which opened in 1929.

“We will be converting the Coliseum into a two basketball court, volleyball court, four pickleball court venue along with meeting rooms on the first and second floors,” he said. “There will also be an addition of a vestibule on the west side that will be the new entrance with stairs and elevator to all levels. The old stage and balcony will be removed to make room for the two courts.”

The architectural site plans explained by Justin Sorensen of TSP and Heidi Hogan of Wertzberger and others, showed what facades will be, how streetscapes will be designed, and how interior spaces will be reconfigured to maximize efficiency.

While the drawings are subject to change, they are intended to provide an overview of what could be.

Images of the recently revealed Downtown Master Plan were on display, as well as an opportunity to review work done by three finalists for public art at the newly opened Marshalltown Police Department/Fire Department facility.

Marshall County Arts & Cultural Alliance Director Amber Danielson said a committee will be selecting a finalist soon.

“A lot of these renovations came from out of pocket. I’m really proud that people took the opportunity to take repairs a step further – that insurance didn’t cover – simply because they wanted to do that for their buildings,” Business Disaster Recovery Coordinator Jenny Etter said.

Mary and Dean Kenagy said they were glad they attended.

“We are interested in the future of downtown, and it is exciting to see what the opportunities are, Mary Kenagy said.”

For more information, the MCBD office may be reached at 641-844-2001.