Vision Iowa Community Attraction and Tourism grants, totaling 4.7 million dollars, have been awarded to projects in west-central and central Iowa. Vision Iowa Board Chairman Andy Anderson says a project near Coon Rapids will create the Whiterock Park. It’s a 6.8 million dollar project, with the Garst family donating 5,000 acres of land.
Anderson the Whiterock project is receiving a 1.7 million dollar grant to help develop trails, a campground, streetscaping, and a visitor center. The Garst farm hosted Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in 1959. Anderson says a three-million dollar grant was awarded to Boone County to develop the 110-acre Central Iowa Expo. The site will become the Iowa home to the annual Farm Progress Show, which is held in the state every other year.
"The impact of the Farm Progress Show is really huge," Anderson says, "they have about three-to-four hundred thousand that come to the show, including international visitors. We believe that one Farm Progress Show will pay back enough in benefits to pay that grant off."
The grant for the Boone County project involves two-million dollars up front, plus a dollar-for-dollar match in private funding, up to one-million dollars. The Vision Iowa Board on Wednesday also awarded a $150,000 grant to Jones County for improvements to the Maquoketa River Water Trail.