Downtown Landmark Could See New Life

The old Oskaloosa Post Office located at the intersection of Market and A Avenue.

The old Oskaloosa Post Office located at the intersection of Market and A Avenue.

Oskaloosa, Iowa – The grand old post office at the main intersection of Market and A Ave could see new life in the near future.

The former post office could be home to seven new apartments, which would include 4 one bedroom and 3 two bedroom units. Two of these apartments would be handicap accessible.

The income guidelines for rent fall primarily within the target area that the housing trust fund focuses its help on. There would be a period of five years where 51% of the apartments would need to fall within affordability guidelines, or 80% of median income or less. This would be different than the Trolley Place project, where only the first occupant of the apartment would be required to fall within those financial guidelines.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority released a pool of money, approximately 12 million, that had not been obligated from the 2008 flood money. In order to be eligible, the project must be within one of those Presidential Disaster Declaration areas, be a community under 50,000 and have their application returned by March 1.

The total cost for the project would be 2.95 million and would take 6 months to complete.

Randy Irwin, who has been a part of putting this project together, approached the OHTF Board with a proposal. “One of the things we would like to do is to be able to show there’s support in the community for this project,” Irwin said.

With that, a request of $58,000 of the Oskaloosa Housing Trust Fund was made to help show that community support during the grant process. Those funds would be released upon a successful bid for the grant funding.

Oskaloosa City Manager Michael Schrock told the board Monday night, “If you can get a 3 million dollar project for $58,000.00, that’s one of the best investments you will ever have.”

“I think this is a good project,” Shrock said. “Housing downtown is important to a thriving downtown.”

“For the last 25 years that I’ve lived in this town, I’ve always heard [that] we just need to get that building [old Post Office] and the old Herald building, if we can get those to functioning properly, it would mean a lot to further investment in the community,” Oskaloosa Main Street Director Jon Sullivan said about the possibility of the old Post Office being revitalized.

At a special meeting of the Oskaloosa House Trust Fund on Monday night, board members approved the measure, granting $58,000 contingent upon further grant approval.

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