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Great News! Iowa Economic Development Authority has authorized Southern Iowa Council of Governments to begin administering CDBG Grants again beginning February 1, 2023! 

As you know, over the last several months, SICOG has been working with IEDA to address the path forward to receive authorization to assist our communities and counties in development and administration of proposed projects. In a joint meeting with leadership from IEDA, Iowa Finance Authority and SICOG last week, Director Debi Durham and her staff outlined the last few steps SICOG needs to address. We expect announcements of CDBG awards soon. 

SICOG’s Executive Board and staff appreciate the work and support of Director Durham and her staff during this transition. We also appreciate your support and dedication.  

SICOG’s staff will continue to support you and your community/county projects, assist in planning, and develop and manage resources to move your projects forward.   Please use our website. We will be making additional resources available. Just a reminder, we have a new Project Form that you can download off the website, fill out as much information that you have on your project, and send the form to us so we can look for resources specific for that project.  As always, we are here to serve you!
                                                                                                                                                                              Beth Waddle

The following are deadlines for popular grants our members and associated organizations should consider.  The SICOG due date is a date when the applicant should have all relevant information to SICOG to finish the application on time.  SICOG has the staff and experience to assist our communities submitting the best possible applications for these funds.  There are many other sources, so if you have project, please contact us.


Funding Uses 

SICOG Due Date 

FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program 

Hazard mitigation plans and projects, including tornado safe rooms, building and utility retrofits, minor flood control projects, elevations and relocations of buildings in flood hazard areas and storm water management projects (Eligible: local governments and some nonprofits) 

Floating (NOIs as soon as possible) 

FEMA Fire Grant – Assistance to Firefighters Grant (see article) 

Up to 95% grant funding for purchase of fire equipment, PPE, vehicles, training, and related activities (Eligible: fire departments and non-affiliated EMS agencies) 

January 20 

Rural Housing Assessment Grant 

IEDA grant that partners ISU Extension and others with a community to prepare a housing readiness assessment and complete related activities.  The grant is up to $10,000 and requires a $5,000 match (Eligible: local governments) 

January 20 

Rural Child Care Market Study Grant 

The Rural Child Care Market Study Grant Program provides funding for market data collection, analysis and development of strategic goals for childcare through a professional third-party partner.  The grant is up to $10,000 and requires a $5,000 match (Eligible: local governments, 501c3 and c6 organizations, schools, higher educational institutions) 

January 20 

National Trust Preservation Fund 

Small grants up to $5,000 for historic preservation planning and outreach activities – not for construction.  Funds can be used for nonprofit salaries, consulting fees, speaker fees, mailing costs, educational materials mailings, and related costs (Eligible: local governments, certain nonprofit organizations) 

January 20 

2022 Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) 

Funding for equipment and items that address shortfalls in Iowa’s and your community’s terrorism prevention and response efforts (Eligible: local units of government, combinations of local units, or other specific groups or organizations) 

January 20 for initial notices of interest 

Wellmark Foundation Built Environment MATCH Grants (see article) 

Up to $100,000 Safe and healthy environments for people to be active (trails, parks, playgrounds, other recreational projects) (Eligible: local governments and certain nonprofits) 

January 20 

USDA Rural Business Development Grant 

Applications will compete in two separate categories, business opportunity grants and business enterprise grants, for use in funding various business and community projects that serve rural areas. (Eligible: local governments and some nonprofits) 

January 31 

BOOST Pilot Program (see article) 

IEDA grant used to further projects that moving towns and businesses in the next step of growth (Eligible: local governments, 501c3 and c6 organizations, schools, higher educational institutions) 

January 31 

IDNR Land and Water Conservation Fund (see article) 

Outdoor recreational facilities, campgrounds, playgrounds, open spaces, and wildlife areas (Eligible: local governments) 

January 31 

Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership (RFHP) 

Large Grants will fund educational programming and outreach about challenges to public lakes, management activities, and fish habitat enhancement projects (Eligible: local governments) 

January 31 

Paint Iowa Beautiful 

Award of donated paint for community projects, which can be about anything (Eligible: non-profits, local governments, community groups) 

January 31 

IDNR Derelict Building Grant (see article) 

Grant to help fund the rehab or removal of derelict former commercial and industrial buildings; can include environmental studies, asbestos testing, environmental remediation, etc.  (Eligible: local governments with less than 5,000 population) 

January 31 

Iowa Great Places 

A designation program that also has a funding component for projects that occur in Iowa Great Places communities, which can be cities and counties.  The projects will be cultural and entertainment projects that attract tourists and create a greater sense of place (Eligible: local governments) 

January 31 

Iowa Cultural and Entertainment Districts 

A designation program designed to showcase and market creative spaces, cultural amenities, and entertainment options in a relatively compact area (Eligible: local governments) 

February 28 

CDBG Water and Sewer Program 

Water and wastewater capital improvements: plants, mains, lagoons, pumps, towers, etc. (Eligible: local governments) 

March 15 (next quarterly round) 

IDNR Solid Waste Alternatives Program 

Program to encourage landfill alternatives – recycling, diversion, new technologies, new manufacturing processes, etc. (Eligible: local governments and certain nonprofits) 

March 31 

IEDA Enhance Iowa Community Attraction and Tourism (CAT) Grant 

Funds for capital projects, such as trails, libraries, community centers, pavilions, entertainment venues, museums, recreational facilities, and more (Eligible: local governments and certain nonprofits). 

March 31 

Alliant Energy Foundation Community Grants Program 

Grants for playgrounds, health and wellness projects, public safety, education, culture and arts, and other local needs (Eligible: local governments and non-profits in communities served by Alliant Energy) 

March 31 


RISE funds roadway improvements to facilitate economic development projects, such as expanding businesses, industrial/commerce parks, etc. (Eligible: local governments) 

May 30 

CDBG Community Facilities and 


This annual competitive program offers grants to assist communities for a variety of projects including day care facilities, senior centers, vocational workshops and other community services such as storm water projects. (Eligible: local governments) 

Ongoing, until funds run out 

Iowa Historic Preservation Tax Credits – small projects 

Up to 25% of project cost in the form of a State tax credit to offset the costs of the building rehabilitation or restoration. Project must affect a designated historic building on the National Register of Historic Places.  Projects can have eligible costs up to $750,000 (Eligible: property owners – governments can partner to mobilize the project). 


ITC/ IRDC "Power of Connection" Community Grant Program 

Grants up to $5,000 for capacity building, strategic planning, studies or assessments for a variety of community programs and issues (Eligibility: rural communities) 


Highway Safety Improvement 

Provides grants for low-cost, systematic safety improvements in the $10,000/mile range, focusing on lane departure crashes. (Eligible: local governments) 


Traffic Engineering Assistance 

Program (TEAP) 

Provides 100 hours of engineering assistance for operations and traffic safety issues. (Eligible: local governments) 


As always, SICOG provides this un-exhaustive list of grants to generate ideas about possible projects and provide funding guidance. Grant funding sources are increasingly interested in creative solutions to problems and many are willing to support not just construction but also operations.  If your community has a problem that outside funding might address, then please contact your SICOG office.  We would be glad to help and can attend a local meeting at no cost to discuss the project or idea.
Plants and Landscaping an Underappreciated Design Value

It is no secret that some of our communities and rural corridors look like perhaps the best is behind them.  The costs of maintaining roads, rights-of-way, and public spaces, as well as private properties, are increasing more than the available wealth.  Places, such as a road intersection, simply look dated and like their only value is for their public function. 

I contend that the answer to this problem may simply be a freshening up of public spaces through landscaping, vegetation, and planned urban design interventions.  Many of these can be improvements to infrastructure that can help the infrastructure work while at the same time adding aesthetic value and reducing demands on property owners and government staff.  Other projects may be a themed corridor, with certain types of trees or flowers at key intersections.  These efforts invite people to come into a community and spend money. 

In this article I wish to lay out some possible benefits of planned projects of this nature: 

  • Economic – provides business for landscapers, dirt movers, and related businesses 

  • Social – invites people to spend time outside together 

  • Environmental – provides shade, fresh air, a wind barrier along high-traffic roads, 

  • Aesthetic – invites people to see what else is in your town 

  • Emotional – can elevate moods and reduce stress 

  • Safety – can promote traffic flow and provide traffic calming benefits 

Finally, the quality and extent of landscape design is often a reflection of the community as a whole.  Consider a business.  If we approach a business and find that it has limited or uncoordinated landscaping, we are much less likely to believe the business is productive and organized inside, and we might decide to look elsewhere.  I like to shop local, but the experience of visiting Jordan Creek Town Center in West Des Moines is attractive largely due to the extent of landscaping found in the area.  I can enjoy walking around the ponds and sitting under a tree between stops at shops and eateries.  The developers of this popular shopping area spent millions to complete quality outdoor open spaces because they understood the value of landscaped design.  In the end, that spending was a profitable investment. 

Talk to SICOG if you wish to discuss how landscaping in a more coordinated way may be able to help your community.  It does not have to be expensive. 
                                                                                                                                                                         Jeremy Rounds

Derelict Building Grant Program Applications Open 

The Derelict Building Program is available for Iowa towns of 5,000 or fewer residents to address neglected commercial or public structures that have sat vacant for at least 6 months.  The application deadline is Friday, February 24, 2023, for applicants who are seeking funding assistance with conducting asbestos inspections, asbestos abatement, structural engineering analysis, phase I and phase II site assessments, building deconstruction and building renovation expenses. 

DBGP funding is awarded annually on a competitive basis with cash matches required. Please note that diversion from the landfill is a key element of the grant program.  Any entity that applies for a grant for demolition work, in particular, shall show they have a plan to divert debris from the landfill.  SICOG is experienced in this program.

Contact Jeremy or Terry for assistance.

BOOST Pilot Program 

The Iowa Economic Development Authority created a new program this year.  The BOOST program aims to provide teams of experts to assist passionate community and business leaders in developing intentional plans for next step growth. This pilot program is designed for rural communities, nonprofits, or employers to receive personalized technical assistance for identifying and implementing action steps to launch into the next stage of success. BOOST has two tracts which target either communities or businesses.  

BOOST will dispatch 3-5 experts to meet with a local committee and discuss the existing conditions, assets, and anticipated needs. The Center for Rural Revitalization and supporting partners will then create an action plan and provide targeted financial support to launch next steps.  The Center for Rural Revitalization within the Iowa Economic Development Authority understands that not all community and business needs are the same and each journey will be different. For this reason, the BOOST Program will assist to develop a flexible plan to meets local needs and allow for new opportunities that present themselves along the way. 

Experts will look holistically at the strengths and weaknesses of a community and partner in the development of solutions. Leveraging the expertise of Empower Rural Iowa task force members, IEDA/IFA staff, and Iowa Rural Development Council partners, each community will work with a team to mentor and develop next steps. 

Participants in BOOST receive the following: 

  • In-person meeting with the individualized BOOST Team and local committee 

  • Follow-up in person or virtual meetings as needed 

  • Recommendations resource document from the Center for Rural Revitalization 

  • Grant Award: $10,000 

Applicants are asked to establish a BOOST steering committee to guide the process. It is recommended that the committee be comprised of seven to 10 individuals, including elected officials, city staff, major employers, nonprofits, and local doers. Additional guidance can be provided by the BOOST Team. 

Grantees will receive $10,000 for eligible one-time project expenses incurred and expended within the eligible funding period.  A match of at least $5,000 cash is required. 

Eligible applicants must be one of the following types of entities and must meet all of the related requirements. 


  • Federally tax-exempt nonprofit organization incorporated and physically located in Iowa. 

  • Physical location of the organization is defined as maintaining a current home office and registered agent address in Iowa defined by Iowa Code 490.501 as well as maintaining a primary staff presence physically located and working in Iowa. 


  • Unit of local, county or federally-recognized tribal government physically located in Iowa 

  • All jurisdictions in the SICOG region meet size requirements. 

Contact Jeremy or Terry for assistance.

Wellmark Foundation MATCH Grants 

The popular Wellmark Foundation MATCH grants are again available. Again this year, two categories of grants are available.  This winter, the Foundation will accept Built Environment Grants.  Later in the year will be, Access to Healthy Foods grants. 

Examples of Build Environment Grant projects include: 

  • Pocket parks 

  • Public playground structures and spaces 

  • Outdoor recreation areas 

  • Outdoor fitness/exercise stations 

  • Sport courts, fields and courses 

  • Waterway access, including kayak, canoe or peddle boat launch 

  • Water improvement projects for public swimming areas 

  • Public swimming pools, splash pads or aquatic centers 

  • Trails, including links, spurs and connectors 

  • Bicycle repair stations 

  • Hydration stations 

  • Safe Routes to School plans and infrastructure 

  • Accessible and safe walking paths or routes 

  • Share-the-road plans and infrastructure, including safe crossing signs and lights 

  • Bike-share programs and infrastructure 

  • Wayfinding signage, trail makers  

Completed Built Environment MATCH grant applications are due by 5 p.m. on Feb. 15, 2023. Requests can be as much as $100,000.  Proof of available match is required within 16 weeks of award, but match funds can come from any source.  The Wellmark Foundation will distribute grant dollars in September 2023. Grantees have until Dec. 31, 2025, to complete their project and use The Wellmark Foundation grant dollars. 

Contact Jeremy or Terry for assistance. 

Land and Water Conservation Fund Provides Grants for Outdoor Recreation 

The Land and Water Conservation Fund, commonly known as LWCF or LAWCON, is a federal grant funneled through the Iowa DNR.  It is always due March 15.  As federal dollars, it requires historic and archaeological review and other requirements (no Davis-Bacon).  Due to this, a grant application submitted this year will not actually start work until 2024.  However, the grant is not nearly as competitive as other recreational grants, so it is a bit easier to get a project funded.  Last year, all twelve eligible projects were funded, including the All-Inclusive Playground proposal we helped prepare for Winterset. 

Project types are flexible, including but not limited to: 

  • Playgrounds and sport courts 

  • Open space development 

  • Water access 

  • Trails (recreational and nature) 

  • Nature centers and similar facilities that help people enjoy nature 

  • Habitat development projects 

Normally, this grant is designed to enhance public spaces, not repair existing.  Grants are dollar-for-dollar match up to a limit based on population size. 

Contact Jeremy or Terry to begin your application or discuss further. 

FEMA Assistance to Firefighters: Grant to Open Jan. 9 

The very popular Assistance to Firefighter’s Grant (AFG) will open January 9.  The due date this year is February 10.  Historically, this grant is popular and SICOG is likely to assist with four to ten applications this year.  It is very important that you determine what your greatest needs are, what equipment, training, vehicles, or other items will address that need, and then inventory your existing equipment and situation to determine what exactly is best to seek in an application.  Contact Jeremy or Terry at SICOG, very soon, for assistance if you want professional assistance in the application process.  SICOG has secured over $3 million for our members in the past twenty years from this program. 

We expect high demand for the funds, which can be up to 95% for the project.  We are looking at helping departments apply for “high” priority items, as defined in the grant notice.  If your department has needs, please talk to us about what might be high priority items, and from there we can advise if an application makes sense for your department. 

FEMA Approves Adams County Hazard Mitigation Plan 

FEMA recently informed us that the Adams County multi-jurisdictional plan has been approved with no edits required.  This plan analyzes all kinds of natural and other hazards, actions to address possible hazards, and a plan for each jurisdiction, such as the schools, cities, county, and hospital, to undertake projects over the next five years.  The plan comes with a five-year timeframe of eligibility for FEMA hazard mitigation project funds, which can cover up to 85% of project costs.  If your county has a plan that has expired or that will expire in the next two years, please contact Jeremy at the office for more information.  Also contact the office if you have a possible mitigation grant project you wish to pursue. 

Healthy Eating and Active Living Funding Proposals Approved for Winterset and Leon
            On January 6th  the Southern Iowa Council of Governments received word from Iowa Department of Public Health’s 5-2-1-0 Healthy Eating and Active Living program that funding for proposals from Winterset’s 5-2-1-0 program have been approved and organizations could start spending funds on their respective projects. These projects each involve different activities and ways to promote the healthy eating and active living lifestyle that the 5-2-1-0 Healthy Eating Active Living program represents. This year the 5-2-1-0 Healthy Eating Active Living program will be funding projects put for the Winterset School District, Winterset Public Library, Master Gardeners Program, and Madison County Health Care Systems. Winterset is in its third and final year of the 5-2-1-0 Healthy Eating and Active Living program with IDPH.

            The Winterset organizations participating in the 5-2-1-0 program this year have submitted a wide variety of funding proposals that will help kids in the community stay active and make healthy eating choices. Winterset Community School District retrofitted two existing drinking fountains with bottle filler attachments and installed one new water fountain unit in the preschool area. The Master Gardeners program is starting “Taste testing time during story time on Wednesdays in June and July with introduction to different vegetables.” Through the community garden students will learn how to grow their own fresh vegetables, Madison County Health Care Systems will host an after-school program for 3rd grade students on “early out” Fridays to promote health, safety, and new ways to move your body while fueling it with health snacks. Lastly, the Winterset Public Library is planning to acquire a BEAM floor projector to use in youth programming. This is an interactive play/projector platform with a wide range of motion-activated games.

            Each of these proposals put forth by these Winterset organizations will promote the healthy eating and active living throughout the community and will be monitored and evaluated to see that funding for these proposals are being used or will be used efficiently. The total grant amount awarded for the Winterset 5-2-1-0 community is $6,400 for year three in the 5-2-1-0 Healthy Eating Active Living program, which will cover the costs for the school district’s (~$3,010.68), Madison County Public Health Care System’s (~$1,660.00), and the Master Gardener’s proposals (~$724.00). Madison County Public Library intends to use ~$990 of the awarded grant funds and will look to other funders to help pay the difference for the cost of the BEAM projector ($4,000). If other funds are not secured, the plan is to have the funds allocated to the library be equally disbursed to the other programs.

            Also, on January 6th the Southern Iowa Council of Governments was notified by IDPH that the funding proposals for Leon 5-2-1-0 Healthy Eating and Active Living organizations had been approved by IDPH and they can start spending and implementing their projects. Leon is in its second year of the three-year program, and this year Central Decatur School system, Leon Chamber of Commerce, and Decatur County Public Health all submitted funding proposals for the year. Funding proposals that have been submitted for organizations with Leon’s 5-2-1-0 include projects that are mostly geared toward outdoor active living. Leon Chamber of Commerce is seeking funds for a “trail hub” that will include water fountain/refill station, a pit toilet, and a bike repair station. The hope is to see increased usage and accessibility of the trail, lack of water and no restrooms creates a barrier for trail users and the bike repair station will be a draw as it is a helpful amenity that cyclists will appreciate.

            Decatur County Public Health and the city of Leon are planning to add park signage/wayfinding at the little league park and add distance markers along the sidewalks. Improving walkability where community members and visitors can be encouraged to use the trail and develop regular walking practices at the city park which is close to the Leon Little League Ballfields. Central Decatur Community Schools North Elementary is planning to add a cover/shade on the current North Elementary playground. Providing shade for community and school when using the playground, making it more desirable for use during hot weather.

            Leon is in their second year of the program the total grant awarded to organizations in the program totals $12,000. This amount will cover the costs of the cover shade for Central Decatur Community Schools ($7,000), and the total cost for Decatur County Public Health for installation, equipment, and signs ($3,000). The Leon Chamber of Commerce plans to use the $2,000 in funds from the grant amount to help fund the trail hub and will apply for a Wellmark Grant, for the difference of the total cost of the trail hub ($33,580.00).

           Implementation, monitoring and evaluations of both communities and how they are using the funds for their projects will occur over the next five months to ensure that funds are being well spent. Monitoring and evaluations will include photos taken of new projects being installed or used, data will be collected indicating how many participants are utilizing the new/expanded amenities.
                                                                                                                                                                          Terry Niestadt
First-Time Homebuyers
This month, the Southern Iowa Development Group, Inc. is re-implementing the Housing Revolving Loan Fund for First-Time Homebuyers. This loan is created to help first-time homebuyers meet the need for a down payment on a home. A first-time homebuyer is defined as someone who has not owned or purchased a home in the last three years. At least 51% of the first-time homebuyers must meet low-to-moderate income guidelines. The local financial institution or realtor will most likely be the buyers first contact regarding this program. The financial institution will conduct the initial phase of the loan review and application process and is also required to sign the SIDG loan application form.


  • 25% local match
  • Maximum loan amount: $6,500
  • 2% fixed interest rate
  • 7-year loan length, first (2) years are deferred
  • $100 Application fee
  • Closing cost is 1% of purchase price
  • Home MUST be principal place of residence
  • For down payment assistance ONLY
You can find the First-Time Homebuyers Application here.
Have questions? Contact our office today or talk with your financial institution.                                                                                                       Kendra Comstock

SICOG Executive Board Meeting of December 6, 2022

Lesan made a motion to approve the minutes of the November 1, 2022 meeting.  Birt seconded the motion. All ayes.  Motion carried.
Fitch made a motion to approve the agenda. Christensen seconded the motion, all ayes. Motion carried.
Guests present were Wayne Pantini, Southwestern Community College, Fred Schuster (Senator Grassley) and John Hollinrake (Senator Ernst).
Staff present: Waddle and Brimm. 
Chairman Jerry Walker called the meeting to order at 1:10 p.m. at the SICOG office. The following members were present: Birt, Christensen, Davidson, Fitch, Leners, Lesan, Riley, Trickey, Walker and Zabel.

Minutes Submitted by Brimm 
Trickey made a motion to approve the financial reports as presented for the month of November and to authorize the transfer of $27,000 from savings into checking.  Riley seconded the motion, all ayes.  Motion carried.

Fitch made a motion to authorize Karen Zabel, Scott Akin, the Chairperson of the  Executive Board as well as Beth Waddle, Executive Director, as designated signatories on all corporate accounts effective January 1, 2023. Birt seconded the motion.  A roll Call vote was taken: Walker (aye), Birt (aye), Christensen (aye), Fitch (aye), Zabel (aye), Riley (aye), Trickey (aye), Davidson (aye), Leners (aye), and Lesan (aye).  Motion carried.
Other items discussed included: grant report, contract income, legal, audit, IEDA, IFA, EDA, computer/software/IT upgrades, legislative update, Executive Director review, and miscellaneous.
Birt made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 2:00 p.m.  Leners seconded the motion, all ayes.  Motion carried.

SICOG Executive Board Meeting- Tuesday, February 7

ATURA Board Meeting- Tuesday, February 14

SICOG Executive Board Meeting- Tuesday, March 7

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