The Enhance Iowa Board recently approved more than $2.5 million in grants for projects in nine communities.

Iowa Economic Development Authority spokesperson, Jessica O’Riley, says one of the Community Attraction and Tourism (CAT) grants is going to rebuild the Legion in Radcliffe. “This is a rebuild of their community center that the legion will use and the community will also use,” O’Riley says. “What I found most interesting about that project is they’re actually using a local. He’s a millennial who is from Radcliffe or nearby town who started a construction company and he will actually be doing the construction on that project.”

The grants is for around $56,000 for a project that totals a little more than $415,000. “The facility they have currently is just not usable — not ADA accessible as it needs to be — so it’s really going to make a difference for the community in hosting events,” O’Riley says.

The city of Joice won a $341,500 grant. “They’re actually putting in a new library and a community center. Both of those will give them more space to do different programming for the community and offer space for events. The total project in Joice is More than $1.8 million.

Algona won a $400,000r grant for a 2,000-square-foot expansion and renovation in a project with a three-million dollar price tag. O’Riley says libraries and community centers are key places for small towns. “Some of the smallest towns, that’s where you see the biggest support come from, is those who know important that community center is to their community and how much youth will get out of it and it really does put a share purposed behind and really rallies the support,” according to O’Riley.

The city of Shellrock got an award of nearly $117 million to spruce up their swimming pool. “On the side of their existing pool they are adding some more modern amenities, zero depth entry, those types of things, ” she says. The Brooklyn Opera House was awarded a $500,000 grant toward a two-point-eight million dollar project to rehabilitate the Opera House and for the construction of a connecting atrium to adjoin the opera house to the neighboring community center.

The Brucemore Preservation Project in Cedar Rapids received a $400,000 grant for a project to restore the Brucemore mansion exterior and outbuildings along with preserving the 26-acre grounds and landscape features. The project has a cost of $4.4 million. The Johnson County Historical Society won a $500,000 grant for its museum relocation in Coralville. The move will allow them to expand their space by 42,000 square feet.

Mount Pleasant won a nearly $22.000 award to construction of six pickleball courts on a currently underutilized tennis court located on the Mount Pleasant Middle School property. O’Riley says the state money helps the communities hit their final goal.
“The projects must have at least 65 percent of their total funding raised in non-state dollars before them come before the Enhance Iowa Board. And really, the Enhance Iowa Board likes to be the last dollar in — so they really want them to be even closer than 65 percent,” O’Riley says. “They do require the city and county to be in at cash value, and they look for large public support from the community.” O’Riley says they are getting close to the end of the rewards for the five million dollars that was appropriated for the grants. The board approved the grants during its meeting last week.