HJ - J Pizza Facade Rendering

This original architectural rendering shows what J’s Pizza and Steakhouse on the north side of the square would look like after the proposed renovations for the downtown facade project. Construction on the project is expected to begin this spring. (graphics provided)

The long wait is finally over.

Initial site preparations have started for the Clarinda downtown façade project and construction is expected to be in full swing by this spring.

Clarinda Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Elaine Farwell said 12 Clarinda businesses will officially be participating in the project resulting in the transformation of 17 façades located around the downtown square.

“The Clarinda downtown façade program will definitely benefit the entire downtown area and the entire Clarinda community,” Farwell said.

Grand Contracting of Red Oak was awarded the construction contract for the project Jan. 10 during a meeting of the Clarinda City Council. The company submitted the low base bid of $575,000 for the project.

Clarinda City Manager Gary McClarnon said a preconstruction meeting was held Friday, Feb. 9, regarding the façade project. He said an asbestos removal team was also in Clarinda early last week to address problems found at two of the participating businesses.

“They did find a little bit of asbestos in the window caulking at the S&S Appliance building and also at the Weil’s Clothing building,” McClarnon said. “They removed that caulking and filled it in with some caulking that doesn’t have asbestos until they get ready to do the demolition.”

With that process completed, McClarnon said Grant Contracting was ready to begin the actual construction phase of the project as soon as the weather permits.

“They are anticipating starting on the west side of the Clarinda downtown square and working on similar trades throughout the process,” Farwell said.

McClarnon said some of the business owners had requested a different time schedule for their part of the project. For example, he said the work at J’s Pizza and Steakhouse will be done in May because of a family conflict for the owners earlier in the spring.

The start of the construction phase of the project followed a year and a half delay resulting from the $500,000 Community Development Block grant the city received for the project being revoked. The grant was revoked due to a clerical error by the grant administrator in June 2016 just as construction was set to begin.

As a result, Clarinda had to reapply for a new CDBG in January 2017. The city was awarded a new $500,000 grant in June 2017.

“We certainly appreciate the patience of all the participating business owners in this long awaited project,” Farwell said.

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