Its been nearly two years in the making, but within a few weeks there's going to be some major changes in the Fort Madison, Iowa downtown area.
Take a drive down Avenue G in Fort Madison and you will see a hodge-podge of architecture and storefronts. Everything from metal awnings, to old brick that's covered up. But now the city has landed a state and federal revitalization faÃade program that will see the fronts of 13 properties restored to their original decor.
"Not only did you have to show you had local support from your city council and your city staff and your private property owners, you had to show that they had a preservation ethic in your community and that you want to stimulate economic development and growth of your local downtown but it was competitive statewide. I mean it was open to any community statewide," Mary Ottoson, Fort Madison Main Street director, said.
Jimmy Wendorf lives with his family at 617 7th Street. He owns the building. He moved to the Pen City six years ago from Colorado and he said when he heard about the faÃade program he was ready to go and looks forward to what his building will look like.
"You know a lot of the buildings and you look at mine, they tried to upgrade it in the 50s to make it look more modern and in the process they really took away a lot of what made the building special. So now we can go back and erase that stuff and and make it what it was," Wendorf said.
Ottoson said work on the buildings will begin within the month and should be completed by the spring of 2013. She said it's a great example of blending economic development with local preservation and she hopes this is just a start to more good things for the Fort Madison Main Street program