By Mariah Griffith
From the September/October 2016 Admiration & Legacy section of Iowa Outdoors magazine
Funding constraints can put the brakes on big demolitions in small communities. This was the case in Rockwell City, where derelict commercial buildings covered 10,000 square feet. Fortunately, these were demolished in 2012 with help from the DNR’s Derelict Building Grant Program.
The program’s goals are removing hazards and minimizing what’s sent to landfills. Since 2011, environmental specialist Scott Flagg says the DNR project has put more than $1.4 million into construction and demolition projects, diverted 400,000 tons of waste and properly disposed of 532 tons of asbestos.
Of the 800 tons of waste from the Rockwell City demolition, just 19 went to a landfill, and the rest went to local uses, like filling in the old basement level and erosion control. Filling an now empty lot would take a lot of love.
Kylie and Nick Hildreth eyed the lot longingly. They wanted to build a low-cost health clinic that Kylie, an advanced registered nurse, could run. Nick was skilled in construction and promised he’d build a clinic for his wife someday.
Nick never got to fulfill his promise. The volunteer firefighter passed away last year.
Two weeks after, Kylie was driving home from the cemetery when she passed the lot and saw a “for sale” sign. She decided her clinic dream could honor Nick’s memory. After explaining her plan, city officials sold her the property for $1.
“It was a very difficult process for me,” she says. “My husband was supposed to build me a clinic so we could do it together, but there I was—one young mom of four who knew nothing about construction. Luckily the contractor was excellent, and made the idea come to life.”
After seven months of construction, the Nick Hildreth Memorial Clinic opened its doors last January.
Kylie hopes to fund a free night clinic for those in need within the next year.
For more information, search “Nick Hildreth Memorial Clinic LLC” on Facebook or visit the DNR's website for more details on the Derelict Building Program.