When Old Becomes New: Repurposing Abandoned Buildings

Apr 10, 2017

In Iowa there are hundreds of old schools, post offices, and churches that sit vacant. Some of them have been given new life as apartments, or as makers spaces and hubs for creativity. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Michael Wagler of Main Street Iowa. We also check in with several Iowans who have been working to reimagine these old buildings. 

"When you drive down a main street and you see lights on in the upper parts of these old buildings, that says vitality," says Sam Erickson, who is Chief Operating Officer for Community Housing Initiatives, which has renovated several old schools and made them into affordable apartments in towns like Oskaloosa.

"When young people come back to visit their families, they see that. That's part of pulling those people back and creating those communities." 

Erich Aschbrenner, the co-founder of Studio Reserved in Cedar Rapids; Caleb House, mayor of Seymour, Iowa where the community repurposed an old nursing home into a school; and Leann Jacobsen, proprietor of Bear Coffee House and Wine Bar at Gary's on the River in Spencer, also join the conversation.