Bijou wins $75,000 Main Street Challenge Grant

The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) today awarded the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group (CDG) a $75,000 to assistant with the upcoming Bijou Theater Expansion project. City and CDG representatives received the grant on behalf of owners Chris and Kira Moore who were out of town.

Chris and Kira Moore plan a 2,400-square-foot expansion to the Bijou including a second screen, larger lobby and concessions area, ADA accessibility, new bathroom areas and a private party room.

“We were all thrilled to represent Chris and Kira Moore at the check presentation ceremony in Des Moines,” said CDG Director Joe Jennison. “Chris and Kira have worked very hard to plan this expansion and raise the funds and we know this $75,000 investment will help grow Main Street Mount Vernon.”

Twelve other Main Street Iowa communities also received grants.

“The Main Street Iowa Challenge grants have proven to be catalysts for the revitalization of Iowa’s historic main streets,” said IEDA Director Debi Durham. “These projects demonstrate the ongoing commitment the people of our state have to keeping our downtowns vibrant, which helps attract new visitors, residents and businesses.”

The grants are administered through IEDA’s Iowa Downtown Resource Center and Main Street Iowa programs. The funding will be distributed in the form of matching grants to the selected Main Street programs. The estimated total project cost of these 13 projects is over $8.7 million.

“Each project must provide at least a dollar-for-dollar cash-match,” said Michael Wagler, state coordinator for the Main Street Iowa program. “In total, these projects will actually leverage more than nine times the state’s investment into bricks and mortar rehabilitation that will have a significant economic impact within each district.”

The Challenge Grant program is funded through an appropriation from the Iowa Legislature. Since the first appropriation in 2002, approximately $9.6 million in state and federal funds have leveraged more than $57 million in private investment. Over the life of the program, 165 projects in 53 Main Street Iowa commercial districts across the state have received funding.

For more information about the Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant program, contact Michael Wagler at 515.348.6184 or mainstreet@iowaeda.com.