- Associated Press - Saturday, April 26, 2014

LE MARS, Iowa (AP) - Thirty downtown building owners in Le Mars have committed to the historic preservation project that will restore their buildings’ exteriors - even though doing so will subject them to federal property restrictions.

The $1 million project is being financed in part through a $500,000 federal grant. The federal money must be matched by a combination of city funding and money from the property owners.

The work will focus on facades, windows and trim in an effort to restore buildings to their historical appearance.

Property owners who signed up earlier this year for the storefront restoration must abide by several federal rules if they wish to make further changes to their buildings, the Le Mars Daily Sentinel reported (http://bit.ly/1kgEe4K ).

Pete Franks, with the Franks Design Group of Glenwood, said property owners who want to remodel the insides of their buildings while the storefront restoration takes place must have the designs approved by the Iowa State Historic Preservation Office.

Owners enrolled in the project must also abide by federal wage requirements, which set minimum wage standards for laborers and mechanics, for any work performed on their building.

For instance, the federal government may require that a painter working on a federalized property make $53.10 an hour, even if a painter in Le Mars could be hired for less, Franks said.

“It does come with some red tape and some hoops to jump through,” Franks said. “That’s just the price of doing business and dealing with federal dollars.”

Franks estimates the project will be completed by April 2015.

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Information from: Daily Sentinel, http://www.lemarssentinel.com