Downtown Master Plan promotes green space, housing, parking and new commerce

Downtown Master Plan promotes green space, housing, parking and new commerce

The Downtown Marshalltown Master Plan draft was unveiled to the public Wednesday. The concepts presented are six months in the making, encompassing ways to revamp the area following the July 2018 tornado.

The region spans Third Street to Fifth Avenue and Madison Street to Grant Street/Byron Street/Bromley Street, focusing on commercial, residential, industrial and open spaces.

“The plan is to present the Master Plan at Monday’s city council meeting for final acceptance,” City Housing and Community Development Director Michelle Spohnheimer said. “Whenever an individual project would come forward, those have to be approved if they require city funds, such as streetscaping, public improvements, etc. It would have to be approved by the council, project by project. This Master Plan gives us a guide, especially as we talk to private developers coming in and we have the opportunity to say what our vision is.”

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Community Foundation of Marshall County Rebuild Marshalltown Fund Announces First Round Grant Awards

Community Foundation of Marshall County Rebuild Marshalltown Fund Announces First Round Grant Awards

Marshalltown, Iowa, May 2, 2019: The Community Foundation of Marshall County is excited to announce the grant awards from the first 2019 funding cycle for the Rebuild Marshalltown Fund. The two grantees are the City of Marshalltown for the renovation of the Veterans Memorial Coliseum and Habitat for Humanity of Iowa for their Marshalltown Hammers Back project.

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Iowa Economic Development Authority and Iowa Finance Authority make $2M Available

Iowa Economic Development Authority and Iowa Finance Authority make $2M Available

Community Catalyst Building Remediation Program and Main Street Mortgage Loan Program to assist downtown rehabilitation from July 2018 tornado damage

March 13, 2019 (MARSHALLTOWN) – The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) and Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) announced today a combined $2 million in additional funding to aid ongoing recovery efforts in Marshalltown. Both commercial and residential properties are eligible for the funding, which may be used for redevelopment, rehabilitation or deconstruction of buildings and to support the revitalization of Marshalltown’s downtown district.  

“A Main Street district is the heart of a community like Marshalltown – both economically and in spirit,” said Debi Durham, director of IEDA and IFA. “We’re happy to partner with local leaders and building owners to rehabilitate Marshalltown and position the community’s central business district for future growth.”

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How can you get involved in the community?

One of the many benefits of living in Marshalltown is that it’s somewhere between a metropolitan city and a small town. It’s pretty easy to find out what’s happening for events, new projects, or ways to get involved. People can pick and choose their level of involvement and can be involved in projects that are important to them.

Where can you get involved?

School district: Junior Achievement volunteer, Booster Club, attend school events, join a Parent Teacher Organization or volunteer in a classroom, support your student by encouraging and supporting the school and their education

City: park cleanup groups, use parks and recreation amenities, clean up after yourself, take care of your dwelling, participate in community input sessions

Non-profits: Board of Directors, sub-committees, help with special projects, volunteer at facilities

Events: be on a committee, volunteer at an event, attend events, spend money at events

Fundraisers: donate items, attend fundraisers and/or contribute money towards fundraising efforts

Elected Officials: run for School Board, City Government, or County Government; vote; attend public meetings

Tornado Recovery: Needs vary depending on the project and available resources. Volunteer Iowa and Habitat for Humanity of Iowa have immediate openings for AmeriCorps members to assist in recovery efforts. Volunteers will be critical to support the mobile response team before the colder weather arrives. Volunteers can contact Central Iowa RSVP at 515-444-2390 or to learn more.

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Open for Business!

**Updated August 28, 2018**

The Marshalltown Regional Partnership has been sharing information via the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce page as businesses reopen. Here is a compiled list of businesses who have announced that they have re-opened after the tornado. Watch Facebook pages or try calling business numbers for updates. Keep in mind that businesses may be at varying degrees of operational. *We will update this list as the Marshalltown Regional Partnership receives notifications.

For downtown businesses, please park in public lots surrounding Main Street and walk to the establishment. Anderson Funeral Homes has also offered their parking lot to downtown visitors. #ThinkLOCALfirst and #ShopLocal matter more now than it ever has. Show our businesses that their blood, sweat, and tears these past few weeks are well worth the investment in our community! Walking a few blocks is worth the inconvenience when you compare it to the rebuild process these businesses are experiencing. #MarshalltownStrong

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Tornado Clean Up

As we navigate post-tornado recovery and rebuild life in Marshalltown, there are a lot of vehicles and debris on the north side of town. We’ve compiled a list of things to know as you travel around the north side.

Debris Removal

  • The City has been picking up damaged trees and limbs, but is ready to move into the next phase of efficient pickup. All vegetation should be on the terrace by 8:00am on Tuesday, August 8. Future clean up sweeps will happen, but a coordinated effort will help ensure faster removal. If possible, remove as much debris as you can and take it to the compost or landfill.

  • The next efforts to begin are construction debris removal.

  • Terrace trees marked with red spray paint correspond to property numbers and have been identified as potential branch concerns. These limbs will be removed at no cost to the property owner. This work will be completed after debris cleanup. Note that this only applies to terrace trees and those on private property are the responsibility of the owner.

Road / Sidewalk Closures

  • For the time being, City officials ask that vehicles stay off Main Street. This is for the safety of citizens while buildings are assessed and for the mobility of large equipment to haul away debris and fix buildings.

  • Barricades and closures in the downtown and neighborhoods will continue to move around as needs arise. Please stay out of the barricade areas so recovery and rebuild can move forward as quickly and efficiently as possible.

  • If you have work being done on your property that will create a road closure or blockage, please notify the City of Marshalltown - Local Government Engineering Department. They have released a road closure map on their website ( and will keep it updated as they become aware of projects.

  • Be aware that barricades and closures for sidewalks may also be moving from day-to-day. Stay off the barricaded sidewalks to ensure safety from falling debris. Stay away from sidewalks and streets that are still covered in debris as it may be hard to see hazardous objects.


  • No parking on Main Street for the time being while recovery and rebuild are in progress.

  • City officials ask that people going to the downtown area use public parking lots instead of Main Street. Some of the public lots still have debris, please be care of hazardous objects. The City will be cleaning these lots soon.

  • While cleanup in front of buildings will be ongoing, on-street parking may continue to be limited on the side streets.

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Tornado Donation Opportunities

There are many donation opportunities available for tornado recovery in Marshalltown. When considering where to donate, think about your donation desires. To help in long-term rebuild efforts or help families with immediate needs. Below are donation funds set up by some of our community partners.

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July 19, 2018

July 19, 2018

For those of us who live and work in Marshalltown, we won’t soon forget the afternoon of Thursday, July 19. We won’t forget where we were; what we did the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th time the sirens sounded; we won’t forget who we checked on between 3:45 and 4:45 that life changing afternoon; we won’t forget what we saw and who we talked to after the tornado hit; we won’t forget the family and friends we tried to reach; and we most certainly won’t forget the pictures and destruction we saw after. For those who were in the path of destruction, lives, memories, and stories are much different than those who witnessed the aftermath. No one will ever fully understand what it was like to experience some of the horrific stories we’ve heard.

If you’ve grown up in the midwest, you’ve spent your life practicing for this. Like most, you probably never thought you’d actually experience it. It was like living in two separate communities that day. One that was “just another tornado warning” like all the rest. The ones where you tell children, “It’s ok. It’s just a precaution in case it gets windy and stuff hits the windows. We’ve been doing this our whole life and nothing bad has ever happened.” That’s not entirely true, we’ve had floods, ice storms, and straight line winds that have wrecked havoc on our community. But none of that compares to what happened to our community on July 19, 2018. The “other” community experienced things that will never be forgotten. Terror and horror surrounded them while they worried about loved ones, tried to find the safest place to be, or were responsible for keeping others calm and safe. As the south side looked out at bright sunny skies, the north side was stumbling through wreckage. We lived in two different communities that day and you can see the line as you cross town.

We can no longer say that nothing bad has ever happened after the tornado sirens. Our community will treat tornado sirens much differently now and most of us will fear it’s sound. Many will probably fear the Tuesday morning test that sounds every week at 9am. From being annoyed at the sheer volume of the downtown siren to being ever grateful at it’s location and volume. All are sure to have mixed emotions going forward.

In the days that have followed, there are a few things we do know...

  • A steady stream of volunteers have been on the north side of Marshalltown, running a non-stop operation of utility work, clean-up, medical help, and food/beverage delivery. Friends helping friends, strangers helping fellow citizens, and people helping a community they’ve never heard of. Volunteers from within the community, state, and far beyond the Iowa lines have stepped up to put our community back together.

  • Emergency disaster rescue and recovery plans began immediately. Responders rushed into the City minutes after the tornado hit. Minutes. Within 10 minutes of the 4th siren, state troopers were seen racing into town from the south. They were speeding into the heart of the destruction before citizens south of the downtown even knew anything had happened.

The miraculous stories of people coming together are nothing short of beautiful and tear-jerking. We know we’ll never truly know the half of these wonderful stories of assistance, but we hope to uncover and share some of them as we move forward in the weeks and months to come.

Marshalltown is an innovative and collaborative community. Disaster or no disaster, we work together to take care of our community. The resounding story in local and national news has been one of perseverance and pride for how our community is working together.

We are Marshalltown and we will come out of this better than before. We will prevail.

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