City of Kalona seeks grants for bakery building

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The city of Kalona is working to complete all of its preliminary work to submit grant applications to go toward the renovation of the old Kalona Bakery building.

City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh said Friday that the city is working to “check all the boxes” of the grant applications.

“We wish this were a faster process,” Schlabaugh said. “We’re hitting all those grant marks.”

The city is seeking state grant money to repair damage to the building caused by a June 25, 2016, fire.

One of the grants is from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Derelict Building Grant Program.

“These funds can be used to help pay for mitigation like asbestos and building deconstruction of the interior,” Schlabaugh explained.

The grant is anywhere from 50-100% funding.

The second grant the city is seeking is from the Iowa Department of Economic Development’s Community Catalyst Grant Fund Program.

“This is more for aesthetic appeal,” Schlbaugh said. “It helps to make the building more usable. We would be able to work with someone with a plan for the building.”

Grant applications need to be finalized in December, and awards will be made in the first quarter of 2020.

The building, located at 209 Fifth St., was owned by Troyer Property Management. Owner Jonathan Troyer operated the Kalona Bakery until the 2016 fire. The building has been vacant since the fire.

The city, in partnership with Communications Network – a division of KCTC – purchased the building this spring.

The city used $20,000 in municipal riverboat funds, casino money distributed quarterly to cities in Washington County, for its share of the purchase.

Schlabaugh said that Communications Network is working to establish a revolving loan fund for whomever purchases the building.

“It’s a low interest loan with favorable terms for equipment,” he said. “It would help allow a business to get going.”

Schlabaugh said a number of people have expressed interest in the building, and some have done walk-throughs.

“We encourage them to go through the building and establish a business plan,” he said.

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