$89,000 facade grant approved for Centennial restaurant

By Rick Morain

Jefferson Herald

The Jefferson City Council last week approved a façade improvement grant of $89,635 for the downtown building at 100 E. State that will house The Centennial restaurant.

The building, at the northwest corner of the square, is the former home of Angie’s Tea Garden. It is now owned by a group of about 50 women under the name Why Not Us LLC. Peg Raney, a member of the group, told the council the restaurant business will be operated by Sarah Ostrander, a Grand Junction native who has culinary experience and has taken culinary courses. She has previously been employed in Des Moines.
The façade grant requires a 50-50 match, which will be provided by Why Not Us. Contractor for the improvement is Westbrooke Construction, with Pete Franks as architect. Westbrook, which also did the roof replacement on the building, is using a number of local subcontractors for the project. Franks headed up Jefferson’s downtown renovation project a few years ago.

The façade restoration will include the addition of 19 full-length windows for natural light to both the upper and lower stories. Window hoods will be refurbished or replaced, to include the current three faces on them and on the front entrance area. The hoods and exterior stucco will be painted.

Also planned for the building are two, one-bedroom upper-story apartments. Why Not Us has applied to the state of Iowa for historic tax credits which could be used to finish out the apartments.
The restaurant will have wood floors, ceiling tile, seating for 44, a commercial kitchen and two disabled-accessible restrooms. Lunch and brunch will be served, with a menu that changes from time to time. Ostrander plans for a staff of a full-time host, two part-time servers, and a part-time kitchen assistant in addition to herself.
Plans are for the restaurant to be open by this summer’s Bell Tower Festival, scheduled for the second weekend in June.
In other action, the council set in motion the first of three consecutive studies for an indoor swimming pool to be attached to the recreation center just west of downtown, and an agreement with Atura Architecture for two new family bath house rooms at the outdoor swimming pool. A story in last week’s Herald provided details about both actions.
The council approved an amendment request to add $65,000 to its $500,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) state grant to renovate the second floor of the downtown building at 200 E. State, the northeast corner of the square, for three apartments.

The original CDBG grant was awarded in September 2020, but construction costs have risen significantly since then, with the project now estimated to cost an additional $105,000. Administrator of the project is Karla Janning at Region XII Council of Governments (COG) in Carroll.
The council also approved a request for release of funds for second story downtown apartment renovations at 123 N. Chestnut on the west side of the square. Region XII COG is also contract manager for that project, which also includes a CDBG grant.

The council approved the appointment of Janelle Brophy as a Jefferson police officer. Brophy, a 2019 Greene County High School graduate, was to start her position last Friday. She has taken criminal justice courses at Upper Iowa University in Fayette. She will attend the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy starting in April. Her starting salary will be $49,450.45 per year.
The council set the date of its next meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 25, for a public hearing on the city’s maximum property tax levy for the 2022-23 fiscal year, which begins July 1. City administrator Mike Palmer said the proposed budget projects a drop of two percent in property valuations in the city next year.
The council approved Pay Estimate No. 1 for $57,543.87 to Jensen Builders Ltd. for the new Greene County Animal Shelter at the north edge of the city in the Greene County Development Corporation’s West Business Park. Footings were expected to go in last Thursday morning.

Proposals to sell a number of city properties moved ahead at the Jan. 11 meeting.
The council approved the sale of the east 21 feet of property at 806 W. Lincoln Way to Craig Kinsey for $500. Kinsey lives next door to the site and has been using it for several years.
The council approved the sale of the remainder of 806 W. Lincoln Way and also 808 W. Lincoln Way to Justin Towers for $250. Towers plans to build a duplex at the site.
The council approved the sale of property at 407 W. Lincoln Way to Ken Bose for $250. Bose plans to build a residence at the site.
The council approved the sale of property at 105 and 107 S. Olive Street to Andy Rowland for $250. Rowland plans to build a duplex at the site.
The sale approval for all four sites followed public hearings on the proposals, with no oral or written comments received.
The council approved a resolution proposing the sale of the vacant lot at 210 W. Washington Street to Dennis Murphy for $25,000. Murphy plans to build a livestock processing and retail business at the site. A public hearing on the proposal will be held at the Tuesday, Jan. 25 council meeting.

The council held a third reading and approved an ordinance to rezone the property on the north side of the 800 block and also the east half of the north side of the 700 block of W. Lincoln Way from residential single-family to residential multi-family. Designated buyer of the property is Justin Towers.
The council approved Class E liquor licenses for Casey’s and Moe’s Mart.

Mayor Matt Gordon approved the following committee appointments for council members and himself (all are identical to the past year’s committee assignments):
    Matt Wetrich: park and recreation, golf course, recycling, Grow Greene County Gaming Corporation, and Bell Tower Foundation.
    Dave Sloan: streets, Chamber and Jefferson Main Street, Highway 30, animal shelter, and downtown buildings.
    Pat Zmolek: Mayor pro-tem, police department, law enforcement center entity, finance, and downtown buildings.
    Harry Ahrenholtz: wage and benefits, housing, Greene County Development Corporation, finance, and public works.
    Darren Jackson: park and recreation, housing, library, cemetery, and animal control.
    Matt Gordon: police department, fire department, law enforcement center entity, animal control, hotel/motel, and finance.

The council meets regularly at 5:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month in the council chambers on second floor of city hall.     

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Jefferson, IA 50129

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