- Associated Press - Friday, March 3, 2017

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - A group plans to invest $1.2 million to renovate four historic homes in Waterloo and is seeking city help in creating a historic district.

City Council members are expected on Monday to consider an agreement for JSA Development to invest the money for homes in the city’s Walnut Neighborhood, The Courier (https://bit.ly/2lC2Rhs ) reported.

The proposed agreement calls for the city to put a two-year moratorium on any building demolition in the neighborhood and fund an estimated $20,000 survey to declare it a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places.

The city would donate three of the homes and spend up to $60,000 purchasing the fourth. JSA Development would also get $10,000 from the city for each property it successfully rehabilitates, along with a first right of refusal to take on additional properties the city may acquire in the neighborhood.

It’s a different venture for the company, which has focused on historic renovations of downtown retail and upper-floor residential properties.

“It does get us out of our central business district model, which is a little bit out of our comfort zone in terms of where we view ourselves,” said David Deeds of JSA Development. “But downtown can never be as successful as it can be with challenged neighborhoods surrounding it. To the extent that we could help set an example about how to help bring a neighborhood back, that’s part of the goal as well.”

Several other groups are joining with Walnut Neighborhood residents in the push to restore the community, including Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity and Link Christian Community Development.

A public hearing on the development agreement is scheduled during the City Council meeting Monday.

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Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, https://www.wcfcourier.com


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