‘Floral Explosion’ mural by Erik Burke.

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs has awarded more than one million dollars in Iowa Great Places grants.

Iowa Arts Council administrator David Schmitz  says many of the projects selected in this round of grant funding are in rural parts of the state where there can be bigger impacts. “A lot of times we think about these projects being about preserving the past, but they’re also about the future, and, you know, signaling to a community that These places are worth investing in and keeping alive for the future,” Schmitz says.

He says an example is Cedar County officials wanting to renovate Tipton’s Hardacre Theater, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Schmitz says these projects look to make communities better places to live. He says this financial support can especially help rural parts of the state.

“It’s all about communities looking at what they have, what’s authentic and local for them. I think a lot of our small and rural communities have these fantastic kind of latent assets in their community,” Schmitz says. “And this program has been really successful at helping the community and residents to identify those, and then bring them forward for funding.”

The Iowa Great Places is a ten-year designation.
Areas receiving awards are:
Cedar County received a total award of $348,700, which includes a challenge-matching grant for the renovation of the Hardacre Theater, a community icon in downtown Tipton that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The City of Indianola received $73,300 for the “Wonder on Buxton,” a project envisioned by the community to connect Simpson College to its downtown square.
The Turkey River Recreational Corridor was awarded $328,000 for the renovation and rehabilitation of the Motor Mill Inn Historic Site in Clayton County. The project aims to protect the Inn from flooding, return the historic structure to its original state, provide meeting rooms and overnight accommodations for travelers, and house a small visitor center for historic and cultural education purposes.
The Boone Forks Region received $300,000 to help complete a transformational vision that capitalizes on the popularity of outdoor recreational tourism and the region’s natural and cultural assets. Grant funds will be used to install interpretative signage along the region’s three state-designated water trails and will support permanent exhibitions at the River’s Edge Discovery Center, a new 13,000-square-foot conservation education center located at the confluence of the Des Moines River and Soldier Creek.

(By Catherine Wheeler, Iowa Public Radio)

Radio Iowa