WILTON, Iowa — A nearly $1 million restoration project of buildings in an eastern Iowa city aims to restore some of the charm to the downtown area in hopes of attracting business owners, residents and visitors.

The city of Wilton is soliciting bids for the restoration project this month, with plans to start the project this summer, the Muscatine Journal (http://bit.ly/2s5Vaqn ) reported. Many of the buildings slated for restoration were built in the mid- to late-19th century.

Becky Allgood heads the Wilton Development Corporation, which has been working on the restoration effort.

“(I was) kind of appalled at the condition of our downtown,” she said. “So I’m thinking; this is really our heritage. These are beautiful buildings; we need to restore them, not tear them down and put up something new, but restore what we’ve got.”

Renderings of the project show some buildings with a red-brick facade and restored windows, while other buildings are planned to have wood siding. The project should be completed in 2018, Allgood said.

A Federal Community Development Block Grant will cover half of the estimated $1 million cost. The city has committed $250,000 to the project, and building owners will cover the rest.

The project has already attracted a new business owner who plans to open a restaurant, Allgood said. She said she hopes others follow suit.

“Our excitement is building now,” she said. “That begets more excitement and that begets more positive things for our community.”

Information from: Muscatine Journal, http://www.muscatinejournal.com

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