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The original Hy-Vee grocery store in Beaconsfield may get new life if efforts of the newly-formed Ringgold County Historic Preservation Commission come (RCHPC) to fruition.
In existence since March, RCHPC is considered a “certified local government,” a designation that allows the commission to qualify for grants aimed at preserving historic buildings and sites.
Members of the commission include Abby Elliott, Gary Scott, Jan Johnston, Kay Carey, Kim Scharenkamp, and Skylar Burdette. Korbie Rinehart is serving as liason between the commission and the county board of supervisors.
The commission is currently seeking one additional member to fill out its roster. Anyone interested in the position should contact Rinehart at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For its inaugural preservation project, RCHPC is currently working with the city of Beaconsfield, the Southern Iowa Council of Governments (SICOG), and the Hy-Vee corporation to preserve the first Hy-Vee building and make it functional as a community center where private and public events, meetings, and other activities may be held.
The city would also like to consider some kind of historical museum to attract visitors.
Already listed in the National Register of Historical Places, the building was also named to Preservation Iowa’s Most Endangered Properties list in 2021.
Jeremy Rounds of SICOG has stated at present the building is in significant disrepair due to a lack of investment, but it is structurally sound and could be salvaged if work is done within the next few years.
To that end, SICOG has sent a request for proposals from qualified preservation architects to provide a preservation plan of the building suitable for a National Register of Historic Places property.
Once proposals are received and costs identified, RCHPC, SICOG, and the city will apply for a grant from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs (IDCA) to help pay for the preservation design services.
If the grant is funded, the selected architect may begin work planning the preservation project in detail.
After that plan is accepted by Hy-Vee, RCHPC, and the city, SICOG will apply for a larger Historical Resource Development Program grant from the IDCA in the spring to cover part of the costs to implement the plan for the preservation of the building.
Besides potential funding from grants, project organizers are seeking donations to aid in the preservation project. Donations may be sent to the City of Beaconsfield, 1621 Main Street, Beaconsfield, Iowa 50074.