Central Parts Store

A $100,000 Emergency Catalyst Grant will help repair damage to the walls and the roof of the Central Parts & Supply building that it sustained in the Dec. 26 fire that destroyed its neighbor, Central Cafe.

HAWARDEN—A pair of grants will do their part in improving several Hawarden properties.

According to Hawarden Community and Economic Development director Carol Hoogestraat, the Iowa Economic Development Authority recently approved the city’s request for $100,000 from the Emergency Catalyst Grant.

The funds will go toward repairing the Central Parts & Supply building at 813 Central Ave., which sustained smoke and water damage from the Dec. 26 fire that claimed its northern neighbor, Central Café.

The Central Parts building is owned by Lloyd and Bonnie Dekkers, who also owned the business there, Central Parts & Supply.

“There’s going to be a new roof put on because some of the embers and water got on that roof, creating damage, so, that needs to be replaced,” Hoogestraat said.

She added that the building’s northern wall needs to be repaired as a result, too, including the northern basement wall.

“They will have to go into the basement because of how the water ran down between the buildings,” Hoogestraat said. “They have to go into the basement of the Central Parts building and basically build a second wall to secure that north basement wall.”

The building’s front will get new windows as well.

Work should be completed by August.

Hoogestraat explained the grant doesn’t directly award the city or property owner the funds.

“They don’t mail us a $100,000 check and say, ‘Here you go.’ This money is managed through the state, through the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Bills are submitted to them and the first 60 percent of the grant is paid out right away,” she said. “The last 40 percent is held until the project is complete.”

She said reinforcing the basement wall will be one of the first tasks for the project because, once that is completed, construction can begin at the Central Café lot.

“It’s the beginning of something great,” Hoogestraat said.

She began looking into the grant back in early March. By March 23, the city council had given her approval to apply, with a lot of paperwork and dialogue to get to this point.

“I’m super excited. I’m positive we can revitalize our downtown. We’ve had a lot of great interest in our downtown. We can put things together and make it a great place because Hawarden is a great place,” she said.

Housing refurbishment

Progress is also being made on securing improvements for two or three Hawarden homes through the Northwest Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund’s home refurbishment program.

Hawarden has lined up $75,000 through the fund, or about $24,999 to be used for each house, to make homes safer, more energy efficient and address any structural issues. Most work should address roofing, siding, gutters, paint, windows, doors and decks. Funds will also allow for installation of smoke alarms.

The money may only be used on homes that meet the trust fund’s income requirements.

Hoogestraat helped obtain then funds in 2020, but said it’s been challenging to find a contractor to put in bids.

She just recently found someone to bid the project, meaning that work can soon begin pending Hawarden City Council’s approval of the bids.

The big question will be if two or three homes can be done through the program.

“Obviously, two and a half years ago, $24,999 went a lot further than it does today. So, the bids, we’ve had to work a bit on to get things to work. I’m not sure they’ll do all three homes because of how the bids came in,” Hoogestraat said.

The plan is for work on the houses to be done this summer and conclude by Aug. 31.

“It’s a ray of hope, and it’s a sign that we care,” she said. ”We can get these houses done and we want to get these houses done. We want to give this to our citizens.”