On Monday, January 24, 2022 the Mahaska County Chamber and Development Group presented the 2021 Chuck Russell Award to the City of Oskaloosa for the Downtown Façade Improvement Program. Mayor David Krutzfeldt accepted the award on behalf of the city, along with Development Services Director Shawn Christ. Grant consultant Brad Grefe also accepted the award on behalf of Area 15 Regional Planning Commission.
Started in 2017, the Downtown Façade Improvement project is an optional program for repair and restoration of downtown building facades to eliminate "slum & blight" while respecting each building's historic past. A community development block grant (CDBG) from the Iowa Economic Development Authority pays for approximately 50 percent of the cost of project. Participating property owners pay 25 percent of the cost for construction, and the city pays for the remainder, plus architectural design and professional fees. The George Daily Family Trust also contributed 10 percent of the cost to complete phase 1. To-date, a total of $3.2 million has been committed to the project, comprised of $1.5 million in CDBG grant funds and $1.7 million in local funds. The program is now in its third phase of construction with three additional phases proposed through 2029.