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Preparing for a makeover

City, county OK funds to restore downtown building

October 11, 2013
By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer , Estherville News

The Emmet County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved allocating $25,000 for restoring the historic former Sievert's building on 12 S. Sixth St.

The request came from the Estherville Industrial Development Corporation which recently bought the building.

In making the request, EIDC Chair Al Blum said the Estherville City Council had committed $50,000 from its revolving loan fund plus issuance of bonds at its Monday night meeting.

Article Photos

Plans are underway to restore this building at 12 S. Sixth St. in Estherville.
Photo by Michael Tidemann

EIDC President Lyle Hevern thanked the development group's board of directors for its support and recalled that two years ago the group had met with Iowa Lakes Corridor about developing second floor space. "It has an amazing second floor," Hevern said of the building that was also formerly the location of Penney's and which has an upstairs ballroom.

Hevern noted how previous historic structures such as the former Elks, Grand Theatre and Depot had been torn down - all of which could have provided public space in Estherville. He also said estimates are up to $250,000 to tear down the building.

"This is a property we'd like to rescue," Hevern said.

Hevern said a second floor restoration committee is forming and that in addition to the City of Estherville's commitment that Excel! Estherville has pledged an annual appropriation.

"With your support we can restore a beautiful building," said Hevern, in making the $25,000 request.

"I'm glad you chose this building," said supervisor Tim Schumacher. "I think this is probably the most elaborate building we've had in this town."

Schumacher also asked whether the EIDC might try to take on similar projects in the future.

"That's something the restoration committee will take on," said Hevern.

Schumacher underscored the appropriateness of a second-floor community for downtown Estherville.

"I think we really have to pick and choose the buildings we are able to save," Blum said. "We think this is a great project and is going to be really good for our downtown community."

Supervisor Jon Martyr moved that the county appropriate the $25,000 which the board approved. Board chair Al Madden noted the supervisors would put on next week's agenda from which fund the money would be allocated.

Noting the project would take a couple years, Blum said the restoration committee was also looking for members.



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