KALONA — The former Kalona Bakery building could be getting a face-lift soon as the Kalona City Council has decided to explore grant opportunities for restoring the space.
The inside of the building, located at 209 Fifth Street, was destroyed by a fire in June 2016 and the building has sat vacant since. Because the building was a marketable property at one time, the City of Kalona and Communications Network decided to purchase the building together, at a cost of $18,000 each, and are now looking for ways to restore it and make it a marketable space once again.
Kalona City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh introduced two possible grants for the city to explore. The first is a Derelict grant through the Iowa DNR, designed specifically for neglected properties in towns with a population of 5,000 or less. The second is a Community Catalyst Building Remediation grant, through Iowa Economic Development, designed to help with rehabilitation of buildings in order to stimulate economic growth. Schlabaugh said the building meets the requirements for both grants and with councils permission, was hoping to move forward to pursue applying for them.
“It’s designed to take a building and put it back into the private market,” he said of the grants.
The Communications Network also will be looking into grants to help improve the look and structure of the space. Because of the fire that took place inside the building years ago, the space is now a “burned out shell” and will need improvements such as asbestos removal, roof removal and framing.
There is no word on when the project will be completed or what business will fill the space, but Schlabaugh said the goal will be to find something that will be “an asset to our downtown business community.”