West Liberty gets $100K to reclaim condemned building

WEST LIBERTY, Iowa – This community is getting a $100,000 grant to help turn a crumbling building into new apartments and commercial space.

West Liberty
Workers help demolish the interior of a building at 115 E. Third St. in West Liberty, Iowa. The structure is being transformed into new apartments and commercial space. CREDIT KEN BROOKS, WELEAD

That money, coming from the state, will help a renovation project centered on a condemned building at 115 E. Third St. in West Liberty. When complete, the updated building will house commercial space in the front of the building (currently leased by Sara Sedlacek’s Edward Jones office), Liberty Public House in the rear of the building (a wine and beer bar also offering special event space), and two apartments upstairs.

The building project is being spearheaded by developers Emily Geertz and Frank Wagner.

The city is getting money to help finance the project through the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Community Catalyst Remediation Program, according to the West Liberty Economic Area Development (WeLead).

“This grant award is key in helping West Liberty achieve three of our goals,” said WeLead Executive Director Ken Brooks. “Development of new housing, creation of additional commercial space and the beautification of our wonderful historic downtown.”

West Liberty
This old building at 115 E. Third St. in West Liberty, Iowa, will be turned into new apartments and businesses. CREDIT KEN BROOKS, WELEAD

Mr. Brooks submitted the multi-stage process grant on behalf of the city and he said he was excited that his efforts paid off. 

“With the increased prices for materials, large renovations such as this one would not be feasible without external support, and I can’t think of a community that deserves that support more than West Liberty. Our citizens work so hard to make this town a better place for everyone, it’s rewarding to be able to help bring in a little assistance,” he added.

WeLead is a non-profit organization that exists to promote and sustain quality of life in West Liberty, Atalissa, and Nichols, Iowa, and seeks to enable growth, to promote business development and expansion, and to foster a healthy business climate. 

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