Carver Trust grant furthers Revitalize Muscatine efforts

Volunteers removing fixtures from the kitchen of MCSA’s Sixth Street property in preparation for renovation

MUSCATINE, Iowa– In early April, Muscatine Center for Social Action put their Revitalize Muscatine program into action. Partnering with First Presbyterian Church, they began renovating a single family home on East Sixth Street. Since then, MCSA received a $100,000 grant from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust to continue Revitalize Muscatine’s work and restore additional workforce housing units.

With their $100,000 grant from the Carver Trust, MCSA plans to complete work on the Sixth Street property and to restore a five-unit apartment building on Fifth Street as well. MCSA Resource Development Officer Jennifer Leirness explained the goals for both projects. “The house on Sixth Street seemed to be a great opportunity to take a vacant house and transform it into a durable, affordable rental home for a family. The house is located close to a grocery store, resources, service programs, and local factories and businesses, making it convenient for those walking to work. The five-plex was purchased from a local church to ensure that the five units would remain part of the affordable housing index in our area.”

MCSA plans to fully remodel the Sixth Street house and to make some updates to the outside of it as well. Leirness estimates that work on the property will conclude within the next several months. MCSA will then rent it to a family seeking workforce housing.

Currently, the Fifth Street apartments have tenants, so MCSA will complete work on the building in several stages out of consideration for them. In the future, if any current tenants move out, MCSA will rent the vacant units to new workers seeking affordable housing near downtown.

As Revitalize Muscatine gains momentum, MCSA appreciates the support they received from the Carver Trust. “We are very grateful for the financial support to help us carry out this work in our community,” stated Leirness. “Our community is 990 units short of the workforce housing needed to support the current need, so we are excited to be able to address this need and work with others to find solutions to the problem.”

Carver Trust Program Director Lynne Sasmazer shared Leirness’ enthusiasm for the program and welcomed the opportunity to continue partnering with MCSA. “The Trust has a good history of effective funding for renovation and improvement projects within the MCSA building, particularly regarding the gymnasium and dental clinic areas, and we look forward to a similarly successful outcome with this award.”