Grimes, IA

Main Street

  • Client City of Grimes
  • Type Municipal
  • Services Streetscape Improvements
  • Construction Cost $2.16 Million
  • Project Manager John Gade, P.E.
  • Project Engineer Mitch Holtz, P.E.


For over a decade, Grimes Council and staff have planned and strategized for the revitalization of their downtown. With help from the Grimes Citizen Visioning Project, it was shown that the Governors District was a critical step in the ongoing effort to grow their city in a healthy way. Beautification of this corridor pays homage to the city’s namesake, James Grimes, the third Governor of Iowa, and will bring visitors, business, and pride to this area, while concentrating efforts on removing deteriorating infrastructure.

Grimes did their homework; they conducted extensive citizen surveys, and formed committees and business alliances for the Governors District. Through these efforts, they formed a picture of what they wanted and a budget they wanted to stick to.

During the process of collecting citizen data, FOX stayed tuned into their decisions and offered feedback when necessary so that design engineers could hit the ground running. The go-ahead for design came on December 13, 2011.

During 2012, FOX engineers did more than collect topographic data and information needed for design. They conducted informational meetings with Grimes citizens to determine what mattered most to them, educate them about the project, and underscore its importance to the community.

These stakeholders told the FOX team that they were very concerned about access for residences and businesses during an active project. Fortunately, the engineers were able to assure them that FOX had anticipated the challenges associated with construction and designed a plan for staging that would keep their needs in mind during the project.

Grimes Main St SE Main BEFORE

Grimes Main St SE Main BEFORE


The FOX staging plan utilized new city parking areas, existing alleys, and creative road closure techniques. Along with keeping various lines of communication open, this lessened the burden on area homes and businesses.

During a public letting on April 3, 2013 the project received attention from 4 bidders. It was awarded to Absolute Concrete from Slater, Iowa, for the bid price of $1,985,000. This amount was $335,000 below FOX’s Engineering Opinion.

Multiple phases for this project included installations of underground water main and storm sewer; construction of mainline paving, sidewalk, decorative concrete; and installation of light poles. The contractor was also tasked with reconstructing underground utilities where a majority of the District’s businesses are located. During this project property owners, city staff, the general contractor, and FOX faced many challenges as owners continued to do business during construction.

FOX kept businesses and residents informed with weekly newsletters sent directly to their email addresses and the Grimes city website: (

In addition, city residents and businesses appreciated that the contractor, city staff, and engineering team devoted themselves to the success of this project. That paid dividends toward the goal of finishing this project.

Grimes Main Street

Grimes Main Street


Spring 2013 arrived and it allowed the engineer to assess work done in the previous year – some construction items are best resolved after having experienced winter’s impact. It also gives residents, business owners, and other stakeholders time to fully appreciate the project and determine its worth.

Based on emails to the engineer, it seems early concerns were laid to rest, and the project was celebrated by the citizens of Grimes. These are awesome things for the engineer to hear:

“Main Street looks so nice and I appreciate all you have done to make this as uncomplicated as possible for us.”

Grimes resident

Grimes Main St GCC sidewalk looking north

Grimes Main St GCC sidewalk looking north


“I drove down Main Street today (for the first time in ages) and had lunch at the Brickyard. It sure looks nice and is 1,000% better!”

City Staff member

 “It looks great! Thanks for getting my mailbox back up. I love the lamp lights!”

 Grimes Business Owner

4. Streetscape Rendering 1