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Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 21, 2018

History Center reaches Douglas Mansion fundraising goal to begin restoration

By Matthew Patane, The Gazette | Nov 20, 2017

CEDAR RAPIDS — With a final award from the state Thursday, The History Center has met its fundraising goal to restore the Douglas Mansion.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority awarded the nonprofit $523,554 in historic preservation tax credits, getting the organization to its $3.9 million goal.

“Our community has made a strong statement that it values The History Center and believes in its vision for the future,” Executive Director Jason Wright said in a statement.

The tax credits come in addition to grants and donations from the state’s Enhance Iowa Board, the Hall-Perrine Foundation and the Jeffris Family Foundation. Wright said more than 200 individual gifts went to the goal.

The History Center still plans to go after an endowment challenge from the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation. It needs to raise an additional $75,000 to receive $25,000 from the Community Foundation, Wright said.

The Douglas Mansion, 800 Second Ave. SE, is a historic home adorned with work by artist Grant Wood. It also was the home for the family of George Bruce Douglas, whose father started what would later become Quaker Oats.

Once the restoration is complete, the mansion will have a research library, a permanent exhibit gallery about Linn County, two temporary galleries and a classroom.

The History Center, formally known as the Linn County Historical Society, also plans to move its offices to the mansion once the restoration is complete.

A ceremony to start the restoration is expected in December and construction will take about nine months. A grand opening is planned for fall 2018.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority also awarded historic preservation tax credits to three other Cedar Rapids projects on Thursday.

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