By DUANE NOLLEN
Members of the Oskaloosa Downtown Development Group celebrated the restoration of a historic Oskaloosa landmark with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday afternoon.
The ODD Group purchased the buildings at 114 High Ave. W. in 2005 for restoration. Phase One of the restoration will add six apartments and 7,200 square feet of commercial space. A second phase of the restoration will add additional living and meeting space.
The cost of the restoration is $5 million.
“It’s a big day for all of us,” ODD Group Vice President Jim Hansen said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Hansen said the restoration project was funded through a variety of grants. The project received a $1 million grant from Housing and Urban Development, an $800,0000 Main Street Iowa grant, an $80,000 Iowa Jobs Main Street grant, a $50,000 grant from the Oskaloosa Housing Trust Fund and several tax credits. The remainder of the funds came from a bank loan, in-kind contributions from businesses and volunteers.
Hansen thanked businesses and organizations for their efforts in the restoration project.
Hansen also paid tribute to the intellectual godfather of the project — Chuck Russell.
“He was our leader in terms of historic preservation,” Hansen said. “He came up with the name of ‘Trolley Place.’
“It couldn’t be more aptly named,” he added.
Trolley Place is named for the hub of trolley lines — both horse-drawn and electric — that served downtown Oskaloosa beginning in the late 1800s.
Members of the ODD Group then cut a yellow ribbon to open Trolley Place for tours from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday.