Downtown Le Mars Makeover Will Re-Create A Historic Look

Areas of downtown Le Mars could soon be getting a makeover, a makeover that could take the city back in time.
There won't be the glitz and glam of modern technology added to this revitalization project, that received its grant back in August.
Monday, city leaders told Siouxland News that they're moving full speed ahead and hope the downtown makeover will take the City back to its historical roots.
And if you take a stroll through the business district in downtown Le Mars now, you won't see the rich history of the city.
But next year, the business district will transform with storefronts that will take you back to the 19th century. "We were named, a downtown corridor of Le Mars were named in the national register of historic places and as such we are trying to keep it in tune with the historic perspective that always existed," said City Administrator Scott Langel. To do that, the City is looking to hire Frank's Design Group to redesign and build downtown storefronts, windows and doors to resemble their original historic appearance. This revitalization is a much need opportunity for many downtown businesses who otherwise couldn't afford the total costs of renovations.
With this partnership and project, businesses will pay 25 percent of the costs. The façade restoration will cost a million dollars and half of that has already been granted by the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).
Meanwhile, the City will put a quarter of a million dollars and the participating business will make up the rest.
Langel says the financial partnership between the City and businesses creates a joint investment to a thriving downtown area. "There's a multitude of reasons why the business owners and the property owners would want to get involved," he said. "But from, our prospective with the city and the Historic Preservations Commission that we've established long ago, we really feel that the roots of the city are best served if we go back to the way it was and not try to, you know, modernize the buildings unduly."

Currently, 40 business have already expressed interest and are being considered for the program and there's still time to sign-up.

The deadline is this Wednesday, January 15th.

But there's one possible catch, business owners might not get a say in what happens to the front of their building.

We'll have to wait and see if that's aspect of the project will be a problem.

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