The head of the board handing out millions to help finance community projects around the state says there’s difficult work ahead. Radio Iowa’s “Vision Iowa” board chairman Michael Gartner says the group has some “very, very difficult judgements” to make in the next two months. The group will sift through up to 30 city applications for about 180-million dollars in state money. Council Bluffs, Des Moines, Dubuque and Sioux City have already submitted their applications, asking for 202-million. Board members and department of economic development staff have begun reviewing the applications to judge whether each meets a set of criteria, such as wage levels for prospective employees.Council Bluffs wants over 36-millon dollars of state money for a recreation and convention complex, but that request has sparked some questions from the board, such as how will traffic flow around the proposed complex, and will property values in downtown Council Bluffs be enhanced by the project. The board’s also asking Council Bluffs leaders to submit more financial information, as most of the money raised in Council Bluffs for the project comes from loans rather than donations.
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