CHARITON, Iowa - The Charitone Hotel on the square in downtown Chariton has come back to life. For the past few decades the once proud hotel had fallen into disrepair. Windows were knocked out and some bricks were falling. Now the new life has come thanks to a unique partnership.
The Hy-Vee Corporation has roots in the town of Chariton, Corporate Headquarters were located there at one time. One day former Hy-Vee CEO Ric Jurgens approached community leaders to ask what Hy-Vee could do to thank Chariton for supporting the company for many years.
"In 2010 he asked us for ideas and we mentioned that something the community couldn't do was rehabilitation of the Charitone," said Raymond Meyer of the Lucas County Preservation Alliance. "We could do a lot of other things but if Hy-Vee really wanted to contribute to this town, that would be what they could do."
Hy-Vee donated $1.6 million with a $1 million dollar challenge to Chariton to raise the rest. The money was raised, and Hy-Vee also offered to operate the restaurant in the Hotel. A new Hy-Vee Market Grill opened in the Charitone last May.
On Wednesday, Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds were given a tour of the facility, including one of the 12 apartments located on the upper floors.
"It's just the life on the square, so much more life to this corner," said Meyer "It's the cornerstone of the Chariton Square."