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In Pella, Strawtown was once an area of homes the first settlers built. More recently, it was an inn and restaurant, both of which closed.

Now the historic part of Pella is getting some new life.

“What we’re hoping to do — sell art, make art, teach art, become a community,” says gift shop owner Lisa Davis-Kovarik.

She has opened Strawtown Gallery and Gifts. Davis-Kovarik plans to use the 1850s building for a consignment art gallery with a pottery cellar. She’ll also host various art classes.

The other portion of Strawtown has also been re-fitted

The Relationship Enrichment Center hosts couples for the weekend in the former Strawtown Inn.

The center puts on seminars to find ways to better marriages.

“Often times we think of marriage seminars as fixing things. But we don’t see it that way, we see it as an opportunity to develop Godly habits that bring about more joy and peace in the relationship,” says Dr. Mark Majors, marriage counselor.

The Relationship Enrichment Center was founded by long-time Pella residents Stan and Alma Vermeer, who bought the Strawtown Inn to set up the center.

You can find more information about the center here.