The big news on Saturday was hot, but not because of the weather.
LIFT WC revealed at its Block Party some significant donations that will boost the former Elks Club building well into the next phase of its rehabilitation.
The Elks Club, built in 1906, sits in the middle of the 700 block of Second Street in downtown Webster City, which makes the revitalization of it crucial to downtown stabilization.
LIFT WC, which has taken on the task of its rehabilitation, has completed extensive exterior work.Now, donors are stepping forward with impressive sums to kick the interior project into a higher gear.
Significant pledges were announced on Saturday, and there was also a check presentation made by Platinum Connect for its $50,000 donation.
Other donors announced were:
– $125,000 — Dean and Adele Bowden
– $100,000 — Webster City Custom Meats
– $50,000 — People’s Credit Union
– $50,000 — Phil and Alberta Voge
– $25,000 — The Silverstein Family
– $25,000 — WCF Financial Bank
– $15,000 — Availa Bank
The building, said Darcy Swon, LIFT WC president, will serve as a catalyst for downtown revitalization.
“This project is so important for many reasons,” she said. They include:
– The proceeds generated will be reinvested into the community for improvements through grants, microloans, programming, and revitalization of other buildings;
– The venue will draw people downtown and create a spillover effect for current businesses;
– The completed project will enhance the downtown’s aesthetic appeal;
– It will allow for partnerships with existing businesses to provide their services, such as catering;
– And it will attract new businesses as tenants that will contribute to the downtown tax district and create new jobs.
“As you can see, this project is really bigger than the building as it will give back to build our community,” Swon said.
“Lastly, let’s not ignore that many have fond memories of or ties to the building and want to see this historic structure brought back to life.”
On Saturday, Swon outlined the $3.2 million total cost for the project.
Phase 1 of the project, which consisted of the facade rehabilitation, has been completed at cost of $1.12 million.
Phase 2 of the project will include the inside rehabilitation and elevator addition and will consume the remaining project budget of $2.1 million.
Lindsay Henderson, LIFT WC vice president, said the organization has an opportunity to qualify for a new Destination Iowa Grant that would require fundraising to a level of only 60% of the project cost. That 60 % could be in the form of pledges or cash-in-hand.
“If we can raise 60 % of the $2.1 million needed, the Destination Iowa Grant will provide us with 25 % of the project total,” she explained. “When coupled with the 25 % in State Historic Tax Credits that we are applying for, we would have the money raised that we need to successfully complete this project to allow us to get to work to open the doors.”
She added, “The grant application must be submitted by year end, so we do have a sense of urgency.”
LIFT announced Saturday that it has secured $415,000 in pledges — more than one-third of the monies needed to apply for the Destination Iowa Grant.
That leaves another $845,000 to raise.
“We will recognize all donors on our website and those who contribute $1,000 or more will be recognized on a donor wall in the main lobby of the building or have naming rights,” Swon said.
LIFT WC will continue to meet with charitable donors and hold fundraising events such as Saturday’s Block Party and the forthcoming A Taste of Fall.
“Although owned by our nonprofit, the building offers potentially three spaces for lease to for-profit businesses,” Swon said.
LIFT hopes to find businesses that complement the organization’s mission to encourage social engagement, but it would still manage the top floor ballroom as a venue for cultural entertainment and private events.
Following the presentation Saturday afternoon, the doors to the former Elks building were opened and tours given. Architect’s renderings showed how the interior will look when finished.
The building served as the Elks Lodge from 1908 to 1983 and was a hub for social activities of the day. When the local Order of the Elks dissolved, the building went to the bank, according to Swon. Through the years, it hosted multiple tenants, including a hair salon and a few bars, but, mostly, it sat vacant and was used for storage for 20-plus years,
Despite Saturday’s extreme heat, 22 teams competed in the Block Party bag tournament, sponsored by Platinum Connect. The winning team was the Wrong Holers — Jason Bolden and Greg Smith — who received $225 in prize money.
Jan Hughes won the raffle for a set of Platinum Connect boards and bags.
Mornin’ Glory Coffee sponsored a 9-Square competition and Van Diest Medical Center hosted the Kids Zone, offering young artists the chance to color and create chalk drawings.
American Legion Post No. 191 served walking tacos and beef burgers. Chicago Style offered ice cream treats. Backcountry Winery also offered a sampling of its wines.
The evening concluded with a concert of live music, sponsored by American Sanitation. Local entertainers Bill Robb, Gianna Borer, Ismael Gomez, Shannon Swon, Tucker Murray and Jayce Abens, and Humble Beginnings offered an eclectic variety of music for the audience.
For more information about LIFT WC or to make a charitable donation or pledge, contact Darcy Swon at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 515-297-0296.
View this article as it originally appeared in the Daily Freeman-Journal.