116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MARION — The Marion City Council is planning to give $100,000 in pandemic relief funds to Marion Community Build.
The program involves students from Linn-Mar and Marion school district rehabbing homes in the city in partnership with the city and the Marion Economic Development Corp.
In the coming year, the students will use the $100,000 in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to also build a new home.
“This does help keep our stock of quality affordable housing,” Marion Mayor Nick AbouAssaly said. “It’s a great benefit. The other benefit is the impact it has on the neighborhood. People want to keep up their own properties when they see investment.”
Typically, students in the program spend about half their school day working on home renovations and learning about the various trades.
Students are now completing interior renovations on their second house, at 2095 Third Ave. They’re building a new garage there and installing landscaping before the property is listed for sale next year, according to MEDCO President Nick Glew.
The students also are preparing to build a new single-family home on an adjacent lot bought by Marion Community Build.
“This is a unique opportunity to provide a new housing unit that creates additional tax base and affordable housing in a core neighborhood,” Glew wrote in a report to the City Council. “With additional dollars invested into the program, we would be able to get a foundation in the ground this fall, allowing students to begin work on the new home over the winter.”
The $100,000 in funding also will allow the program to pursue new relationships with entities like the Homebuilders Association and Kirkwood Community College as they scale project opportunities, Glew said.
All the City Council members indicated their willingness to support the allocation and directed city staff to prepare the necessary documents
The Marion Community Building program started in 2020 with $110,000 from MEDCO and $100,000 from the city.
Marion received $6 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds.
About $450,000 in the pandemic relief funds is being used for small business grants. The first round of grants, totaling $293,156, was allocated earlier this month.
Round two applications are expected to open in the coming weeks, with the rest of the funds being allocated later this fall.
Earlier this summer, the council unanimously approved allocating a little more than $4 million in ARPA funding toward sanitary sewer and water infrastructure projects. About $3.5 million will go toward the Marion sanitary sewer projects, while $600,000 will go toward water infrastructure improvements.
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