Small rural communities looking for assistance to help renovate or deconstruct abandoned commercial and public structures can apply for funding through the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (Iowa DNR) Derelict Building Grant Program.
The grant program, instituted by state legislation, helps rural Iowa communities with populations of 5,000 or less to address abandoned commercial and public structures. The program emphasizes reuse and recycling of building items, helps improve street appearance and commercial development, and alleviates the environmental concern these buildings can pose. Financial assistance includes asbestos removal, building deconstruction and renovation, and other environmental services.
For instance, the city of Granville used Derelict Building Grant Program funding to remove asbestos from and deconstruct an old school building it acquired from a local Catholic church. With grant funding, the city was able to divert 97 percent of the deconstruction waste from a landfill by finding local markets for concrete, brick, scrap, and dimensional lumber. That saved the city $33,000 in landfill disposal costs. Granville replaced the school with a new fire and emergency services station.
Funding is awarded annually on a competitive basis, with this year’s applications due in April. A committee composed of representatives of the Iowa DNR, Iowa Society of Solid Waste Operations, Iowa Recycling Association, Iowa Economic Development Authority, and Keep Iowa Beautiful selects the projects for funding.
If your state would like to learn more about the program, contact Scott Flagg of Iowa DNR.