Iowa’s New Targeted Area for Broadband Applications due by the end of March
Do you want to raise your hand to become a targeted area for broadband investment? The State of Iowa announced this month that counties, cities, or regional organizations may apply for consideration as a targeted area for broadband investments. Successful applicants will be designated as Broadband Intervention Zones.
We are currently being told that many of the communities in our region are considered served. However, there are several areas within our counties that are NOT considered served. The newest map is to be released this month. Here is the current MAP.
For the applications they will be looking at 8-mile circular areas within the unserved region. (They will have a map tool to use on their webpage soon.) A county can put in more than one application if they have more than one area that is not being served. However, those areas can NOT overlap another area, so counties will want to use the map and tool that will be provided to determine the parameters of each area of application.
There is also a list of optional information that can be included in the application that can give the application extra points in scoring. We strongly recommend adding that information.
Since 2018, the Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Program has awarded more than $350 million to provide service to unserved and underserved locations in the state, but the geographic locations of new facilities were requested by broadband service providers, not by communities.
An online pre-application conference will be held February 15. Instructions for the Invitation to Qualify (ITQ) and pre-application conference registration are available here.
This is a fast turnaround time for an application with a deadline of March 31. Therefore, communities or counties wanting to qualify, should attend the workshop next week AND begin putting together the optional information for their application.
If you would like SICOG to assist with your application, please contact the office in the next few days, so we can plan our time according to the number of applications that will need prepared by the deadlines.
The Southern Iowa Council of Governments' Annual Meeting will be held March 28, 2023, at SICOG, located at 101 E. Montgomery St, Creston, IA 50801, at 1pm.
As always, SICOG provides an 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. There are many other sources, so if you have project, please contact us.
AARP Missing Middle Housing Report
The AARP has developed a free online downloadable report entitled “Discovering and Developing Missing Middle Housing.” Missing middle housing includes du/tri/four-plexus, mansion style apartments, accessory dwelling units, cottage courts, townhomes, and more. This report is an excellent primer for local governments who wish to develop affordable housing with modest infrastructure investment per unit and that meets needs. The report can be obtained at www.AARP.org/MissingMiddleHousing. The following is a description of benefits of such housing, excerpted from the study.
“Such midsized, often moderately priced homes are referred to as missing because very few have been built in the U.S. since the early 1940s. The shortage is largely due to zoning constraints, the shift to car-centric patterns of development, and the challenges of financing multiunit dwellings. That’s a problem, because the benefits of this largely missing housing type abound:
· Missing Middle homes provide the size and affordability options that people of all ages— including older adults — very much need but often can’t find.
· Since Missing Middle dwellings are house-scale, the design and size of the buildings fit comfortably among detached single-family houses.
· When a classic but too-large historic home is converted into a multiunit Missing Middle-style residence, the housing type can help preserve existing houses as well as an area’s look and feel.
· The housing type can enable family members to live with or near one another while having their own space or residence.”
This is the future of housing development at all scales, including rural Iowa towns that lack explosive housing development today. Talk to Jeremy at SICOG about possibilities.
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.
Contact Jeremy or Terry for assistance.
USDOT Transportation Grants - Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) Grant Program
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) established the new Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) discretionary program with $5 billion in appropriated funds over the next 5 years. The SS4A program funds regional, local, and tribal initiatives through grants to prevent roadway deaths and serious injuries. Last year was the first year of this program, in which $1 billion was awarded for 473 action plan and 37 implementation grants. This year a similar award is anticipated.
The fiscal year 2023 Notice of Funding Opportunity is expected to open in April for the second round of SS4A grants. The following are eligible for funding:
· Metropolitan planning organizations and RPAs
· Counties, cities, towns, and transit agencies or other special districts that are subdivisions of a State;
· Multijurisdictional groups comprised of the above entities.
The following activities are eligible for the SS4A program:
· Develop or update a comprehensive safety action plan (Action Plan).
· Conduct planning, design, and development activities in support of an Action Plan.
· Carry out projects and strategies identified in an Action Plan.
There are two types of SS4A grants: Action Plan Grants and Implementation Grants.
USDA New Program - Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) Grants
The Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) Grant Program offers grant assistance to create and augment high-wage jobs, accelerate the formation of new businesses, support industry clusters and maximize the use of local productive assets in eligible low-income rural areas. RISE funds can be used to:
· Build or support a business incubator facility
· Provide worker training to assist in the creation of new jobs
· Train the existing workforce with skills for higher-paying jobs
· Develop a base of skilled workers and improve their opportunities to obtain high-wage jobs in new or existing local industries
The RISE project must serve a rural region small enough to allow close collaboration among partners. It also must include important elements of the region’s prioritized industry cluster (concentrations of related industries).
Grant amounts are awarded competitively with a minimum of $500,000 and a maximum grant amount of $2,000,000. The grant period is four years.
Contact Jeremy or Terry for assistance.
AARP Community Challenge
This grant is for small to medium sized project that make communities more livable for people of all ages with tangible improvements that jump-start long-term change.
Basics of the popular Flagship Program:
· Grants up to $50,000 but averaging around $10,000 for projects that enhance quality of life for seniors, such as public space enhancements, transportation enhancements, housing, diversity and equity efforts, digital connections, community resilience projects, civic engagement efforts, community health and economic empowerment efforts, public art, and other projects
· Local governments and nonprofits can apply
· Small match required and identified, but does not need to be secured
· Due March 15
· Does not require formal council/board action to apply
This year there are two new grant categories. One is capacity-building microgrants. This funds $2,500 in the areas of walkability and community gardens. This grant also involves a team of AARP-sponsored technical assistance providers who will visit the community to help carry out the project. The other is a demonstration grant, which is designed to encourage replication of promising local efforts drawn from the flagship grants in the areas of transportation and housing. These can be larger grants for the design of Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) projects and for transportation demonstration grants.
More can be learned at www.aarp.org/CommunityChallenge.
AARP loves creativity and addressing these kinds of issues. Contact Jeremy or Terry for assistance.
First Time Homebuyers
Just incase you missed it, Southern Iowa Development Group, Inc. has re-implemented 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 local 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
Have questions? Contact our office today or talk with your financial institution
SICOG Executive Board Minutes- January 6, 2023
Chairman Jerry Walker called the meeting to order at 1:00 p.m. at the SICOG office. The following members were present: Akin, Christensen, Dunbar, Davidson, Fitch, Friday, Holmes, Leners, Pantini, Trickey, Walker and Zabel.
Staff present: Waddle and Brimm.
Fitch made a motion to approve the agenda. Akin seconded the motion, all ayes. Motion carried.
Christensen made a motion to approve the minutes of the December 6, 2022 meeting. Leners seconded the motion. All ayes. Motion carried.
Trickey made a motion to approve the financial reports as presented for the month of December. Zabel seconded the motion, all ayes. Motion carried.
Walker referenced the Iowa Code section 21.5(1)(c) regarding closed session. Fitch made a motion to go into closed session. Holmes seconded the motion, all ayes. Motion carried. Waddle and Brimm exited the meeting. Pantini made a motion to come out of the closed session and to re-open the regular board meeting. Trickey seconded the motion, all ayes. Motion carried.
Other items discussed included: grant report, contract income, audit, IEDA, EDA, board website, and project board meetings.
Fitch made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 2:44 p.m. Trickey seconded the motion, all ayes. Motion carried.
Minutes Submitted by Brimm
SICOG Executive Board
Jerry Walker, Chairperson- Adair County
Diane Fitch, Vice Chairperson- Madison County
Karen Zabel, Secretary- Taylor County
Rick Friday, Treasure- Union County
Scott Akin- Adams County
Randy Dunbar- Clarke County
Dan Christensen- Decatur County
Colby Holmes- Ringgold County
Tom Leners- Private Sector
Bill Trickey- Private Sector
Wayne Pantini- Member-At-Large
Beth Waddle, Executive Director
Judy Brimm, Finance Director
Jeremy Rounds, Regional Planner
Jessica Hagen, Transportation Planner
Terry Niestadt, Regional Planner
Kendra Comstock, Planning Tech