The Iowa Economic Development Authority awarded more than two million dollars to seven towns Thursday in what are called Community Development Block Grants.
Authority spokesperson, Nicole Hansen, says the grant money is provided by the federal government for water and sewer system improvements. “It is a competitive program — we do receive more requests than we are able to fund — unfortunately,” Hansen says. She says they always try to fund as many projects as they can because there is a big need for water and sewer improvements.
Anthon, Blairstown, Fontanelle, Guttenberg, Lake Park, Massena and St. Olaf all were awarded the grants in this round. Hansen says there are several factors involved in the selection process. “We take a look at project need, we take a look at project impact and readiness. We also take a look at the benefit to low and moderate income persons,” according to Hansen. “One of the national objectives with the federal CBG program is benefit to low and moderate income individuals.”
The grants are targeted to the smaller communities in the state. “The largest communities in Iowa, Davenport, Des Moines — those communities with populations over 50,000 — they receive their own Community Development Block Grant allocation from the federal government. So, they are not able to apply for the state program because they receive their own allocations,” Hansen explains.
Communities that didn’t get grants this time have another chance before the end of the year.
“We are accepting applications currently. That application window will close on October 1st. And then we’ll make awards in November for the fourth quarter,” Hansen says. “And then we’ll open it up again on January first for 2020.” Hansen says they usually have around ten million dollars to award each year.
Here are the award amounts for the third quarter:
Anthon Water Treatment Improvements $ 300,000; local match $658,075
Blairstown Wastewater Plant Improvements $300,000; local match $1,173,000
Fontanelle Wastewater Plant Improvements $300,000; local match $1,627,500
Guttenberg Sanitary Sewer Improvements $500,000; local match $541,720
Lake Park Water Main Installation $355,050; local match $433,950
Massena Wastewater Plant Improvements $300,000 local match $1,852,000