Building towards the future

GARNER, Iowa – “We’re always looking for new people to come to town,” says Garner Mayor, Ken Mick.

He is excited about what’s happening in his small town, because Garner is receiving a $500,000 grant. It is the next community in our area to give it’s downtown a makeover. The city and shop owners will also be added into that grant, allowing 21 storefronts to be renovated.

“To keep Main Street fresh and update some things. In some cases, there will be small changes, and in others more substantial. All of those things contribute to improving Main Street, and that’s what it’s all about,” says Mick.

He hopes that these renovations will help bring in more folks on top of their already growing population. But, when the population grows, so does the need for housing.

“Garner has grown dramatically in population, and with the growth our housing has become a very big problem, and it’s getting to be a bigger problem,” says potential Apartment Developer Deb Schmidt.

She and her husband purchased the former U.S. Army Reserve Center property on 5th street over a year ago. Now, they are hoping to put that lot to use.

“We didn’t know what we were going to do with it, but we knew that 3.5 acres in the middle of Garner; there must be some need for it,” says Schmidt.

If everything goes according to plan, those 3.5 acres will soon have eight, four-plex, rental units.

“A forgivable loan came up and we thought we would try for it. If we get that, we would like to have 32 homes that will house 32 families,” says Schmidt.

Before these apartments go up, the city council voted Tuesday night to have an engineer come in to look at the infrastructure. They want to make sure water back-up will not be an issue. If the planning goes well, construction will begin in the spring of 2015.

It’s a lot of change for a small community, but Mick says they are taking the process one step at a time, and is optimistic that they can make it happen.

“I think it would be an asset to our community if this indeed does happen,” he says.

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