Preservation Iowa Newsletter – Spring 2016

President’s Greeting

This year has been in very important year for preservation in the State of Iowa. Many changes have been implemented by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs specifically in the State Historic Preservation Office. Some of these changes have been welcome and represent major improvement over the previous practices. Among those Preservation Iowa has supported is the implementation of a pre-development meeting which helps the Department assess the viability of the project and its preparedness to proceed and therefore its eligibility for a commitment of historic tax credits from the state historic tax credit program.

The State historic hreservation tax credit program has also been under a tremendous stress in its handling by the Iowa Department of Revenue. Developers recently have found themselves facing changing rules and shifting sands with regard to expectations of the State historic tax credit program. While all of the parties involved with the State government have had the best of intentions, the result has created an uncertainty in the handling of state tax credits which does not encourage preservation of historic structures and does not encourage the use of the state historic tax credit by the development community.

Recently, legislation has passed both the House and the Senate which intends to clarify, and in some respects, simplify the State historic tax credit program, its rules, procedures and processes. Projects will still go through the standard Part 1 analysis and disposition, Part 1.5 preparedness meeting, Part 2 analysis and disposition, then there’s the formal registration of Part 2B, and lastly as Part 3 with the submission of qualified rehabilitation expenses (QREs) or costs.

As I understand the new legislation, this last phase will be handled by the Iowa Department of Economic Development as opposed to the Iowa Department Revenue. The preservation community needs to be aware of these changes and can still contribute to the legislative and rulemaking process by submitting comments for the new administrative rules and regulations attendant with the legislation just passed. For those of you who are interested in more details regarding the legislation it can be found at Senate file 2443.

Preservation Iowa will be watching the implementation of these new rules specifically as regards to funding of smaller projects and individual properties which need rehabilitation but may not be of great interest from and economic development perspective, -projects specifically including personal residences.

There have been a number of exciting examples of the implementation and use of historic preservation tax credits for the redevelopment of properties large and small throughout the State of Iowa. We are excited that the legislative bodies have embraced the program, continued to fund it at a significant level, and with this legislation have attempted to clarify and simplify the use of those credits. Please contact your Legislator and voice your support of this legislation and thank them for their support of preservation in the State of Iowa.

As this newsletter will indicate, Preservation Iowa continues in its role as an advocate for preservation throughout the State of Iowa. We are excited about the various projects that have been undertaken throughout the last twelve months and we are preparing already to recognize some of those projects through our Preservation at its Best Award at the annual Preservation Summit scheduled for this fall. Please keep an eye out for projects in your community which you think should be recognized by Preservation Iowa for their contribution to preservation in the State of Iowa.

Also, a special thank you goes out to Steve Wilke-Shapiro and to the committee who worked so diligently on the preparation of our new and improved website for Preservation Iowa. We know all of our members and many interested parties in the community will benefit greatly by having access to a much more thorough website with links to other interesting sites and we are excited that this is a linchpin of our outreach efforts in 2016 has been vastly improved.

2016 Preservation Showcase:
“Preserving Our History, Celebrating Our Best”

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA –The City of Cedar Rapids and the Historic Preservation Commission invite the community to participate in the 2016 Preservation Showcase on Saturday, May 7, from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the MedQuarter district. Activities will include seminars, hands-on demonstrations, bus tours and the Preservation Award Ceremony at 6:00 p.m. to acknowledge the local efforts made by citizens and organizations in advancing historic preservation.
Saturday, May 7 Activities:

  • Preservation Seminars: Seminars may be eligible for continuing education credits. All seminars will take place at the Masonic Library, located at 813 1st Avenue SE
    • 9:00 a.m. Adaptive Re-Use of Historic Properties
    • 11:30 a.m. Using Historic Tax Credits to Rehabilitate Properties
    • 1:30 p.m. Green Historic Preservation:
  • Hands-on demonstration by restoration professionals to take place on the History Center’s lawn, located at 800 2nd Avenue SE. 2:45 p.m.
  • Bus Tours with Cedar Rapids’ Historian Mark Stoffer Hunter. Buses will depart in front of the History Center’s new location at 800 2nd Avenue SE.
    • 10:15 a.m. Repurposing Historic Buildings Bus Tour
    • 11:30 a.m. Houses on the Move Bus Tour
    • 2:45 p.m. Re-purposing Historic Buildings Bus Tour
    • 4:00 p.m. Houses on the Move Bus Tour
  • Kids Activities, including a scavenger hunt, a chalk the walk and coloring
  • Overalls All Over – Grant Wood Exhibition at the Grant Wood Studio
  • Learn about your past with “Who Do You Think You Are?” special event hosted by the Genealogical Society
  • Awards for Excellence in Preservation to take place at the Masonic Library, located at 813 1st Avenue SE.
    • Awards Reception, 5 p.m.
    • Awards Presentation, 6 p.m.
  • Preservation Awards: The highlight of the day’s activities will be the presentation of the Preservation Awards. In all, 13 awards will be presented to residents and organizations who are being recognized for historic preservation. Awards will be given out in the following categories:
    • Residential Rehabilitation in the 2nd & 3rd Ave Historic District
    • Residential Rehabilitation in the Redmond Park-Grand  Ave Historic District
    • Residential Paint Color Scheme in the 2nd & 3rd Ave Historic District
    • Residential Paint Color Scheme in the Redmond Park-Grand  Ave Historic District
    • Exterior Restoration for Residential
    • Exterior Restoration for Mixed-Use/Commercial
    • Adaptive Re-Use
    • Project Excellence
    • Stewardship

The May 7 celebration is part of the national efforts to spotlight grassroots preservation efforts during the month of May, which has been designated as National Preservation Month by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Please visit the Cedar Rapids Historic Preservation Commission website for more information:

Preservation Success

Friends of Historic Preservation in Iowa City has been in the news lately with some preservation success stories and productive collaborations.

The first success was the salvage and reuse of historical materials from the University of Iowa’s Women’s Resource & Action Center, or WRAC. WRAC, previously housed in an 1890’s era Iowa City home, was recently demolished by the University to make green space. Before demolition, the University permitted Friends of Historic Preservation to salvage doors, windows and a beautiful hand-crafted stair railing. The salvaged materials were the same age and style as the Frankie House in Cedar Rapids. The Frankie House, an in-progress rehabilitation effort lead by Save CR Heritage, was able to reuse the salvaged materials. The collaboration between the University of Iowa, Friends of Historic Preservation and Save CR Heritage was a success in historic preservation collaboration. While preservation of historic buildings is always a primary objective, this next-best option kept valuable materials out of the landfill and helped restore a home.

The second success involves moving a Queen Anne-style home in Iowa City in order to prevent its demolition. The home, originally scheduled to be demolished for development, will be moved about two blocks from it’s current location into the College Green Historic District. The lot in the historic district became available when lightening destroyed an historic home on that spot late late year. The house that burned and the house to be moved are similar in size and style and the relocated house should contribute nicely to the established historic district. While the house was donated to Friends of Historic Preservation by the developer, the project–including purchasing the lot, pouring new foundations and moving–will cost the organization about $200,000. The money will come from a loan taken out, money saved up by the group, and donations from the community.

Secretary of the Interior’s Guidelines Review & Public Comment Deadline

The National Park Service is in the process of updating the Secretary of the Interior’s Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring & Reconstructing Historic Buildings. You have an opportunity to comment. The revised documents are at: When you go to this website, you’ll see the revised documents at the bottom of the page. Your comments must be submitted online, or by clicking the button below. The comment period deadline is April 29, 2016.

The updated guidelines follow the same outline and format as the prior version. The guidelines are meant to be general and do not address specific or case-specific technical issues. The text has been edited for better clarity, consistency, and readability. The main goal of the update was to ensure that that the guidelines are inclusive of 20th century building types, materials, systems and technologies — so the changes are mostly additive in nature. There is no change from the prior text in its approach to applying the Standards to individual materials, features and spaces.

State Nominations Review Committee June 2016 Meeting

The State Nominations Review Committee will hold their June 2016 meeting in Wilton, Iowa. At that meeting, the committee will consider nominations for a variety of properties including the Public School in Coggon, the Red Oak Downtown Historic District, and the Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway Combination Depot in Decorah. The meeting is open to the public and will be held at:Wilton City Hall104 East 4th Street. The meeting begins at 9:15am.  More information is available on the state website.

The 30th annual Iowa Downtown Conference
will be held August 2 – 4 in Mason City

The conference will include educational plenary and breakout sessions focusing on downtown revitalization, field sessions, tours, an exhibit hall and a number of networking activities.

The Iowa Downtown Conference is brought to you by the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Iowa Downtown Resource Center, in partnership with Main Street Mason City and Visit Mason City.
Online registration and additional information is available at

Questions? 515.725.3075 or

2016 Preserve Iowa Summit

The Preserve Iowa Summit is the premier statewide annual conference for professionals and volunteers involved in historic preservation in Iowa. 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act which has helped foster the strong preservation movement we enjoy today. Come to Davenport, Iowa to learn, celebrate, and network!

We are pleased to announce that our keynote speaker will be Greg Werkheiser of Preservation50.

Who should attend?

  • Historic property owners
  • Members of historic preservation commissions
  • Historic preservation, planning, interior design and architecture students
  • Main Street staff and board members
  • Preservation professionals, consultants and enthusiasts
  • Planning professionals
  • Local government officials
  • Community leaders and civic organizations
  • Architects
  • Citizens interested in their community’s quality of life

The Summit is a coordinated effort of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs’ State Historic Preservation Office, the City of Davenport, the Davenport Historic Preservation Commission and Preservation Iowa. It is funded in part with Federal funds from the National Park Service, U. S. Department of the Interior.

For more information, contact Paula Mohr at .  Details will be posted at

Final Remarks

Preservation Iowa is proud to serve the statewide preservationists of Iowa. We are excited to offer business professionals a great way of marketing their historic business services through the new Preservation Iowa Business Directory. This summer will highlight some important events with the Iowa Main Street Conference, the Preserve Iowa Summit, preparation of the Preservation at its Best Nominations, and other preservation initiatives. Our organization would love to hear more from local Iowa preservation commissions and individuals to hear about your efforts and concerns during 2016. We are happy to partner with the preservation community, acknowledge, showcase, advocate, and equip preservation efforts from across Iowa. We appreciate you for being an important part of our preservation vision in Iowa.

Keep up the great work fellow Preservationist,

Kevin J. Kuckelman, President
Preservation Iowa