Seventeen Iowa communities are splitting $300,000 worth of new state grants. Only cities with fewer than 20,000 residents were eligible.
“These inaugural innovation grants are a fantastic showcase of what the governor’s Empower Rural Iowa is all about,” Governor Kim Reynolds said yesterday.
The minimum award was $1000. The maximum was $20,000. Grant recipients must match the state dollars. Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg said the grants support “creative…small-scale projects” with the potential to have a big impact.
“For example, the grants support communities which are doing place-making like Stanton, Lenox and Chariton where they’re doing downtown improvements and renovations,” Gregg said, “or the Starmont School District in northeast Iowa where students will create augmented, reality-based artwork to highlight local community attractions.”
The grants are “helping solve real problems in rural communities,” according to Gregg.
“Providing a rural grocery delivery system for communities that don’t have a grocery store and connecting rural downtowns with WiFi, providing better access for businesses and local income residents,” Gregg said. “and the grants support the efforts of entrepreneurs in places like Pocahontas, Monticello, Atlantic and Jefferson.”
The governor and lieutenant governor visited “All Cultures Equal” in Webster City yesterday. The organization is getting a $9400 grant to complete equipment purchases for a commercial kitchen. Kathy Vaughn, the organization’s director, said seven people in the community who are originally from other countries have expressed interest in using the kitchen as the launching pad for a business.
“They can legally make meals. They can legally sell jams. They can become a bakery or a caterer,” Vaughn said, “so many people who don’t have the money to start a big restaurant or even a little restaurant can come here with a very low investment to start.”
Officials say the $300,000 worth of grants will spur up to $1.8 million in total investment in the 17 community projects. Six other grants focused solely on assessing local housing needs are going to the cities of Creston, Central City, Manning, Springville, Keokuk and Stanton.
The full list of grant recipients and each project is here.