A fund of 200-thousand dollars for community beautification grants is now set aside and Iowa’s smaller towns can apply for a share of the cash. Gerry Schnepf, executive director of Keep Iowa Beautiful, says communities with fewer than five-thousand residents can get grants of up to five-thousand dollars.
Schnepf says the money can be used for all sorts of things, like: litter prevention and removal, waste receptacles, programs to encourage recycling, or beautification programs like tree-planting, flower planting, fix-up, painting, landscaping and entryways into communities.
A second type of grant is available for projects involving derelict buildings. “Those grants go up to $15,000 and that’s for either removal and/or renovation,” Schnepf says. “That would also include asbestos abatement because many of the old buildings will have asbestos in them.”
After working with the program for years, Schnepf says it’s a thrill to see how so many of Iowa’s small towns are sprucing up their main streets, town squares and neighborhoods. “I just came from a drive and went through several small communities,” Schnepf says. “I can see a lot of things happening in these communities from ten years ago, a lot of change, a lot of improvements. These small dollars can really help spark things.”
The money is coming from the Iowa DNR’s Solid Waste Alternatives Program, or SWAP. The deadline to apply for the grants is August 20th. Learn more at: www.keepiowabeautiful.com