Embracing Abandoned Buildings - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Embracing Abandoned Buildings

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(KWWL) -

The vacant and abandoned buildings in eastern Iowa tell a history of the area's once booming economy.

The Rath Packing Company opened its doors in Waterloo in the late 1800s, but it was forced to shut its doors just short of its 100-year anniversary, due to the company's dwindling profit margins.

At its peak, the company was one of Iowa's largest employers, but now, a majority of the structures are occupied by a refrigerated warehouse.

The company's administration building is owned by a California-based company who have mentioned several plans to invest in the building, but nearby business owners are no longer optimistic anything will change or improve.

A similar story across town, where the former Greyhound Park sits vacant and vandalized.

With little success, the property is tied up in litigation, but a summer court date is in the works to see how the property can be better utilized.

But, not all vacant properties in eastern Iowa are abandoned and forgotten.

Properties like the former Vietnoodles restaurant on University Avenue are now being revamped to improve the community and show a positive sign of growth throughout the area.

There's a similar story in the Dubuque, where the city and community groups have come together to invest in problem areas, like the Washington neighborhood.

Areas that see a lot of crime and disinvestment are embraced by these groups, and groups are doing everything in their power to fix them.

More details are coming up Thursday night at 10:00 p.m. 

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