As the summer season comes to end, bright cheery spots of color, generosity and beautification are beginning to pop up around Waterloo thanks to the efforts of many gracious individuals and businesses.
Jeni Quimby, the first female mayor of the city, took her oath of office in April and has been visiting Waterloo businesses to learn about what can be done to improve and beautify the city as a whole.
One of the most recent donations to the city came from Chip and Loretta Pinz of Custom Plastics Industries, Inc. located at 560 Commercial Ave.
After a recent visit to Custom Plastics Industries, Inc., Quimby received a received a phone call from Loretta Pinz and three custom-made planters weighing more than 100 pounds each were donated to the city. Each planter has a “W” on the front, a nod to Waterloo’s “Find Your Path Here” theme.
The planters were placed in front of Waterloo City Hall by Waterloo Public Works Director Chad Yerges and Waterloo Parks Coordinator Gabe Haberkorn. Quimby and Yerges filled the planters with a variety of colorful flowers and plants donated by McKay Nursery, Inc.
“The entire project was completely non-taxpayer funded. It was just the generosity of local businesses,” Quimby said adding Yerges donated the soil and came in on his day off to help fill the planters.
Scott Hartwig, owner of Hartwig’s Diner located at 111 N. Monroe St., recently completed the renovation of a former gas station located at the corner of South Monroe Street and West Madison Street.
With the use of his own money and time, Hartwig gave the former gas station a nostalgic look from years past and set an example of how to beautify and renovate buildings in Waterloo.
Quimby said businesses are encouraged to take part in the Downtown Façade and Commercial Build-Out Grant established in 2017.
Property owners and current and/or prospective tenants located within Tax Increment District (TID) no. 2, are eligible for a matching grant for property improvement projects. The matching grants are available to fund 50 percent of an eligible project with costs up to $5,000 per application. The minimum total project size to be considered for the matching grant is $1,000 and the total annual municipal award expenditures will not exceed $25,000.
Additional information and completed grant applications can be directed to Waterloo city Clerk/Treasurer Mo Hansen.
Bowowz, a new pet treat business, located at 112 E. Madison St., recently used grant money from the Downtown Façade and Commercial Build-Out Grant to remove weeds and small trees that were growing in the building’s gutters and awnings.
“I want to help people and I want to beautify and take care of our old infrastructures,” Quimby said adding that tree trimming, weed pulling and cleaning up the downtown area of Waterloo have all taken place in the last few months.
“We’re doing good things and getting people excited. We’re making people proud of their jobs and their businesses,” Quimby said noting additional beautification projects are slated for the near future.