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Goldfinch Growth acquires rights to former county garage building

Deed is done

A mock image illustrates Goldfinch Growth’s vision of a food or drink establishment that could be developed in downtown Newton.
A mock image illustrates Goldfinch Growth’s vision of a food or drink establishment that could be developed in downtown Newton.

Property rights to an old county garage building in Newton now belong to the real estate development company Goldfinch Growth, Inc.

The deed to the 115 W. Second St. S. building was approved and signed by the Jasper County Board of Supervisors following its special meeting Tuesday morning, officially granting Goldfinch Growth co-owners Bryan Friedman and Natalie Umsted the “full go ahead” to pro-actively seek restaurant tenants to fill the space.

In September 2018, the board of supervisors accepted a $40,000 bid from Goldfinch Growth to purchase the former Jasper County garage building, which was more than 100 years old and whose purpose had long since been abandoned by the county. A month earlier, Friedman and Umsted presented the county with a proposal to transform the building into a restaurant or bar.

Since then, Newton Main Street applied for and was awarded a $75,000 Main Street Challenge Grant by the Iowa Economic Development Authority to help fund the project proposed by Goldfinch Growth. Friedman confirmed the company had also been working alongside the architecture firm RDG Planning & Design and contractor Estes Construction to complete historic renovations of the building.

Still intending to renovate the space for a food or drink service establishment, Goldfinch Growth continues to search for a passionate restauranteur to liven up the property to contribute to the downtown vibrancy.

The public hearing in which the Jasper County Board of Supervisors voted to approve Goldfinch Growth’s $40,000 bid also called for certain terms to be applied. One of which was to create a six-foot-wide easement on the north side of the property. Before approving the deed, the supervisors and Jasper County Attorney Scott Nicholson amended the language and details of the easement agreement.

Most of the approximately 30-minute discussion surrounded the placement and access of dumpsters on the property, specifically in a nearby alley. Friedman was fine with the idea. Denny Carpenter, chair of the board supervisors, argued the parking lot “isn’t suitable” and does not have a strong enough asphalt surface to withstand constant truck use, whether it is a dump truck, delivery truck or grease/cooking oil pickup vehicles.

Later in the discussion, Jasper County Supervisor Brandon Talsma asked Adam Sparks, director of maintenance, if the asphalt can sustain a truck. Sparks confirmed it could, but did not hold a firm stance on the surface’s life span upon repeated heavy truck use.

“That parking lot should hold anything that any other of our parking lots (and) roads should be able to hold,” Sparks said. “I mean, we maintain it. We’ve had nothing wrong with it besides a few cracks in it that we’ve maintained. Dodd’s (Trash Hauling and Recycling, Inc.) has been in there before with a roll-off and their truck on there at the same time. So I can guarantee you that thing fully loaded ... way outweighs the garbage trucks.”

Jasper County Auditor Dennis Parrott proposed the county would create fencing between the parking lot and the alley, accessible through a gate. There would be “plenty of room” for trucks from Dodd’s Trash Hauling and Recycling to collect and dispose of garbage. Parrott said it is “an ideal place” for the property’s dumpster.

Given the information shared by county officials, Friedman offered to strike the first condition or reservation from the easement agreement, which reads: “The right to place a dumpster for trash removal on the easement area and have unimpeded access to said dumpster at all times.”

County officials and Friedman also deliberated the specifics of the language in the event that a public nuisance (like an unpleasant, lingering smell coming from the dumpsters) forces the county to issue three written notices to Goldfinch Growth to cure the nuisance in a “reasonable amount of time,” which could be argumentative.

Ultimately, the supervisors and county attorney decided seven to 14 days was an acceptable amount of time to be deemed “reasonable.” Other language modifications referred to “successors” rather than just Goldfinch Growth specifically in attributions.

Friedman told the Newton Daily News Tuesday Goldfinch Growth hopes to be under construction by fall and be ready to serve the community by early 2020.

“We appreciate working with the county on this and are excited about moving forward with it,” Friedman said.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or

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