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Old Bank Building

An employee of Ken Kaiser Restoration of Des Moines repairs the exterior of the old bank building in Britt. The exterior work began in mid-September of 2017. The restoration of the building on Main Avenue is being led by the BRITT Group.

BRITT | After the First State Bank moved to a new building in 1980, the old bank building went through a series of owners.

After nearly 40 years of neglect, the City was close to have the building demolished when the BRITT Group stepped in and took possession.

If it were not for the group, an irreplaceable part of Britt’s history would have been lost and the most historical building, located on north west corner of Center and Main, would now be a vacant lot.

Preserving and reusing a historic building is a much greener way to go than demolition.

Approximately 25 percent of the material being added to landfills is demolition and construction waste.

Demolishing one typical two-story commercial building on Main Street eliminates all of the environmental benefits of recycling 1,344,000 aluminum cans.

Thus far, the BRITT Group has been made over $61,000 in repairs to the bank building.

The most significant repairs have included making permanent repairs to the roof, adding a power source to support the use of power tools, providing lighting for current and future workers, adding a new main drain from the roof to the first floor, and making permanent repairs to the north and west walls.

Also, the BRITT Group had the surrounding property graded and filled to make the area a little more pleasing.

The BRITT Group is continuing to hold fundraisers and work on their plan to restore the exterior of the old bank building first.

It has been determined the most critical need at this time is to replace the second story windows. In addition to the actual window replacements, the windowsills need to be reset and work is needed to repair some of the brick window framing.

While work is being done on the exterior, the interior is not being forgotten.

Currently, the BRITT Group is continuing to work on clearing the interior of dirt and debris. Much has already been cleared from the first and second stories, but the basement still needs work, and eventually old plaster and other materials will have to be removed.

In 2018, a small group of Iowa State University (ISU) design students completed two potential designs for the interior. These will be on display during the BRITT Group’s fundraisers in 2019.

When businesses look to relocate in the new industrial park on Hwy 18, they will also look at the community to see if it fits as a place their families want to live.

A vibrant downtown and much needed hotel would help sell Britt as a good place to operate a business.

This building matters. Help save it.

Donations to help save the old bank can be sent to: The BRITT Group, P.O. Box 93, Britt, IA 50423, or can be given to Jim Nelson, Laurie Eden, Carolyn DeKruif, Gary Gelner, Jeff Kudej, Connecticut Shorty, Garry Kerns, Skip Miller or Allen Eden.

You may also make your donation in honor or memory of one or more of your loved one if you desire.

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Regional Editor

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