Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) Applications Available soon!
Updated program guidance can be found here: Iowa Transportation Alternatives Set-aside program Guidance (iowadot.gov)
Once the new application has been released, it will be added to the ATURA page on the SICOG website. If you have a project in mind, or any questions on the TAP program, please contact Jessica Hagen (641) 782-8491 or email@example.com.
Are you interested in a group service project? Iowa DOT has several roadways available to adopt in the SICOG region. The Adopt a Highway (AAH) program helps to increase public awareness of environmental needs along Iowa highways by making sections of roadsides available for adoption. This partnership helps to maintain the appearance of our roadsides throughout the state.
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.
Join the Homes for Iowa crew and staff on September 14, 2023, from 10AM - 2:30PM at the Homes for Iowa Build Site for Tour Day!
If you have any questions, please email the HFI Project Manager, Stephanie Nagrocki.
Upcoming Community Catalyst
The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) provides grants through the Community Catalyst Building Remediation Program to communities for the redevelopment, rehabilitation of vacant or underutilized buildings to stimulate economic growth or reinvestment in the community.
Strong applications will:
Show the potential of catalytic economic growth in the community
Improve appearances and safety; make use of underutilized property
Exhibit appropriate design standards
Economic growth may include the creation of additional jobs, growth of new or existing businesses, development of new housing units, increase property values or potential population growth.
A mandatory pre-application process will precede the official grant application. A city, the eligible applicant, must apply and provide financial and/or in-kind resources. A portion of funds will be awarded to cities with populations under 1,500. Funds will be available for the rehabilitation of one commercial building per community or two adjacent buildings with the same ownership.
IEDA is offering four regional application workshops across the state. Workshops will include program details, deadlines for pre-applications and the actual formal application process. Pre-registration is encouraged.
Perry - 1:00-3:00 p.m. / Hotel Pattee – 1112 Willis Avenue
Fairfield - 10:00-Noon / Fairfield Public Library – 104 W. Adams Avenue
Independence - 10:00-Noon / Allerton Brewing Company – 110 1st Street E.
Hull - 1:00-3:00 p.m. / Farmers Mutual – 1010 Main Street
Call or email Jim Thompson
The Southern Iowa Council of Governments will be closed on Wednesday, September 13, 2023, for our 21st Annual Golf Invitational.
Up Coming Conferences and Summits
Des Moines Cybersecurity Conference, September 21, at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown in Des Moines, Iowa. Discover cutting edge security approaches, and how to manage risk in the workforce. Click here to register!
Iowa Ideas 2023, October 12-13, and is a Virtual Conference. Iowa Ideas is an annual virtual conference designed to gather Iowans from all perspectives to explore, discuss and offer solutions on issues impacting the state. Click here to register!
10 Iowa Smart Planning Principles
In the coming issues of The Windmill, I’ll cover the 10 Iowa Smart Planning Principles, now codified in Iowa Code Chapter 18B. This month, we’ll cover the fourth one: occupational diversity. The Code reads as follows:
“4. Occupational Diversity. Planning, zoning, development, and resource management should promote increased diversity of employment and business opportunities, promote access to education and training, expand entrepreneurial opportunities, and promote the establishment of businesses in locations near existing housing, infrastructure, and transportation.”
The Code states that the local government shall consider and may apply the 10principles in appropriate planning, zoning, development, and resource management decisions. The question becomes how to consider and apply them. When SICOG works on these issues, we like to take on the principles directly. We evaluate possible planning goals, objectives, actions, and policies in terms of how these may impact, positively or negatively, each of the 10 principles.
For rural Iowa, the planning issues most notable probably are a range of options, new business development, and locations of employment close to housing, infrastructure, and transportation.
Rural Iowa is used to having a limited range of options. Most of them are basic manufacturing, agribusiness, small retail, rural educational and health care, and office occupations. These tend to be lower-wage jobs or, in the case of professional employment, the entry level, only to be poached by job openings in urban areas. Many towns are supported by no or only one manufacturer and by local retailers with no plan for the business after the owners retire. Those that have schools and healthcare are threatened by consolidation and the lack of trained workforce within the area. Most towns, therefore, do not have a diverse range of occupations.
This can change with proper investments that capitalize on quality of life to attract remote workers, those that used to work in Des Moines or Chicago but now can work from home. This relates to the second item of note: the support of entrepreneurial activity. Investments should be targeted to help aspiring young adults to go into business. We know that, when people leave for a four-year degree, they often do not come back after graduation. To keep young talent year, aggressive and creative measures are needed.
The final point relates most directly to planning. The principle calls for employment to be close to home. Certainly, rural communities are open to businesses being within walking distance of homes, but the low density of development means that most people still must drive some distance to work, often to another town. Relaxing zoning to allow and encourage denser developments, such as multi-family, near workplaces is a good strategy. Investing in infrastructure in those areas for mixed uses will assist.
This planning principle can show up in planning documents through goals, strategies, and policies adopted locally, codes such as zoning adopted locally, and operating procedures created and standardized for local staff and officials.
CDBG Programs Open for Program Year 2023
The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) has opened the competitive grants for various programs for this fall. In addition to the economic development, community facilities, and water/sewer programs, which are always open or quarterly, the main funding round opened this month for the following programs. Each application is due to IEDA via Iowa grants on November 22, 2023.
The Upper Story Conversion program offers grants up to $550,000 (or $600,000 if Iowa Green Streets are used) to renovate upper story space into affordable (mid-range)rental housing. This is a great opportunity for private building owners to partner with a local government(city) to invest in vacant or underused upper story space. The program allows anywhere from 1 to 7units, and they can be scattered sites within a downtown, as long as all are owned by one building owner/developer. The developer does not need to have extensive experience with downtown housing. The City can have a very modest investment in the project, with the bulk of the funds coming from the grant and the property owner. SICOG has experience with this program and wants to talk to you about the potential in your community.
The Downtown Revitalization program (commonly known as the “façade grant”) funds up to $650,000 for much of the cost to renovate street-facing facades in target areas of downtowns. The maximum grant is based on 8 or more buildings being included. Buildings can include private businesses, vacant properties, non-profit buildings, and others, but no housing can be found on the main floor. Projects with 6 or 7 buildings can apply for a lesser amount. The grant leverages building owner and city funds to make improvements such as tuckpointing, masonry repair, new windows and doors, painting, awning replacement, and more. Towns that have undergone this program have seen a notable improvement to property values, increased retail sales, and more energy and excitement in those areas. SICOG has helped five towns complete this program and three more projects are about to go to bid. If you have been assisted in the past, you can apply again for some of the same or different areas of the downtown.
The Neighborhood Planning Grant program is in its second year. It offers a grant to local governments to hire a firm (or your COG) to research needs, hold public engagement efforts, perform an income survey, and write a report or study that identifies needs and possible CDBG and non-CDBG projects that could be implemented. A neighborhood can be about anything but must include at least some residential uses and no more than 200 households. In2022, SICOG secured funds for studies in Corning and Creston, which are being prepared at this time. When the plan/study is complete, it is submitted to IEDA and may help the town qualify for a large CDBG award over $1 million to implement some of the projects in the plan.
SICOG Partnerships 2023
*Creston City Water Works
*Clarke County Development Corporation
*City of Osceola
*John Wayne Birthplace Society, LTD of Winterset
*First National Bank of Creston & Afton
*Iowa State Savings Bank of Creston & Lenox
*Lenox Municipal Utilities
*Corning Municipal Utilities
*Garden & Associates, LTD of Creston & Oskaloosa
*Greater Regional Health
*PCSB of Clarinda, Corning, Creston, Lenox and Mount Ayr
*American State Bank of Lamoni, Osceola & Winterset
*JEO Consulting Group of Ankeny
*North Stone Apartments & Corkrean Construction of Winterset
*Snyder & Associates, Inc of Ankeny & Atlantic
*Southwest Iowa Rural Electric Cooperative of Corning, Mount Ayr & Stanton
*Tyler Insurance Services of Creston & Mount Ayr
*Veenstra & Kimm, INC of West Des Moines
*Adams Community Economic Development Corporation
*Afton Development Corporation
*Akin Building Center of Corning & Creston
*City State Bank of Mount Ayr
*Clarke County Hospital
*Clarke Electrical Cooperative of Osceola
*Community Development Corp of Greenfield
*Farmers & Merchants State Bank of Orient, St. Charles & Winterset
*First National Bank of Osceola
*FNB of Fontanelle & Greenfield
*Grundman Insurance Agency of Corning
*Lenox Chamber of Commerce
*Lenox Development Corporation
*R Realty of Creston
*Rainbow International of Winterset
*Ringgold County Development Corporation
*Saylor Realty, LLC of Osceola
*Southwestern Community College
*State Bank of Brooks of Corning
*Subway of Corning
*TS Bank of Treynor in Corning
*Union County Development Association
*Union State Bank of Greenfield
*Union State Bank of Winterset
Interested in becoming a partner?! Call us today at (641) 782-8491 or go to the Partnership page on the SICOG website and fill out the form at the bottom of the page!
SICOG Executive Board Minutes- August 1, 2023
Chairman Jerry Walker called the meeting to order at 1:00p.m. at the SICOG office. The following members were present: Akin, Fitch, Friday, Holmes, Leners, Pantini, Walker and Wengryn.
Staff present: Waddle, Brimm, and Comstock.
Akin made a motion to approve the agenda. Holmes seconded the motion, all ayes. Motion carried.
Fitch made a motion to approve the minutes of the July 5, 2023, meeting. Leners seconded the motion. All ayes. Motion carried.
Pantini made a motion to approve the financial reports as presented for the month of June and July. Wengryn seconded the motion, all ayes. Motion carried.
Fitch made a motion to approve the purchase of a new A/C unit for the apartment. Pantini seconded the motion. All ayes. Motion carried.
Other items discussed included: grant report, NICRA, audits, roof, golf, by-laws.
Pantini made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 1:38 p.m. Friday seconded the motion, all ayes. Motion carried.
Minutes Submitted by Comstock
SICOG 21st Annual Golf Invitational- Wednesday, September 13
SICOG Executive Board Meeting- Thursday, September 14
SICOG Executive Board Meeting- Tuesday, October 3
SICOG Executive Board Meeting- Tuesday, November 7
SICOG Executive Board
Jerry Walker, Chairperson, Adair County
Diane Fitch, Vice Chairperson, Madison County
Karen Zabel, Secretary, Taylor County
Scott Akin, Treasurer, Adams County
Randy Dunbar, Clarke County
Sam Wengryn, Decatur County
Colby Holmes, Ringgold County
Rick Friday, Union County
Doug Davidson, Private Sector
Tom Leners, Private Sector
Raelynne Risser, Private Sector
Jodie Geist, 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