Community Development


Planning is an important tool for the proper physical, social, and economic development of an area. Planning can ensure the proper priorities for projects, investments, and agendas are set. Planning should be both formal and informal when trying to effect community development. Formal planning would include comprehensive smart planning, community development policies such as zoning, strategic planning, and capital improvements planning, among others. For more information, check out the Economic Development section and the Housing section of this site. Informal planning may be through simple charrettes, community visioning sessions, project planning, and organizational development. A community may undertake informal planning by itself or through the utilization of SICOG services as SICOG has a wide range of experiences with community development planning.

Please visit the Planning page for more information about the types of plans available to a community.

Technical assistance is vital to the success of complicated community development activities. Successful community development requires the mobilization of champions as well as elected officials. For example, assistance may be provided with budgeting, project organization, board development, and securing non-profit status of an organization. Projects may require research on policy, environmental reviews, and financial analyses. SICOG provides the necessary technical assistance and refers local officials to other sources of technical assistance as necessary to make a project succeed.


Grants are available for community development projects. Grants can help fund development projects and programs from the planning stage through implementation and operation. Almost any project, program, or initiative can be funded in part by funding from grant sources outside of the city. SICOG has experience with construction, equipment, staffing, planning, and operations grants. SICOG offers free grant writing services to member communities. Visit the Grant Opportunities page for a full listing of grans available.

The following are Community Development specific grants that are available.


Funding Uses

Eligible Applicants

Estimated Deadlines

Community Attraction and Tourism (CAT) and River Enhancement CAT (RECAT) Tourism, recreation, and entertainment capital projects Local governments, non-profits January & July
Iowa Historic Resources Development Program Matching funds for documentaries, collections, historic preservation projects, and museums Local governments, tax exempt non-profits, some for profits May
Living Roadways Trust Fund Roadside inventories, gateway and roadside plantings, research, demonstration/education, specific equipment Local governments and some non-profit organizations Summer
FEMA Assistance to Firefighters SAFER firefighter hiring program Funding to hire, rehire, or retain firefighters, with priority of those that have been laid off due to budget cuts Local fire departments Summer
CDBG Water/Sewer Water & Sewer systems Local governments Fall/winter
CDBG Community Facilities Childcare centers, certain special housing, sheltered workshops, homeless shelters, etc Local governments Fall/winter

Available Funds (RLF)

The Community Investment Revolving Fund (CIRF) is a loan program for member communities in the eight-county SICOG region. Loans are available under the program for short-term unplanned community improvements. Such improvements include but are not limited to: fixing broken public water and wastewater lines, repairing fire equipment for emergencies, and replacing a community facility roof due to leaks.

The loan is available to all active members of SICOG with a population under 3,500. During any fiscal year, each community may apply for and receive up to $20,000 in loan funds. The funds must be repaid on a 36-month or shorter amortization schedule. The interest rate is a fixed three percent.