Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative awards $400K for innovation projects, housing studies in rural communities across Iowa

Iowa News

DES MOINES, Iowa (KCAU) – On Tuesday, the Iowa Economic Development Authority announced $400,000 in Rural Innovation grants and Rural Housing Assessment grants that have been awarded to 21 communities across the state.

It’s the inaugural round for these programs, which were developed in 2019 by the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative.

The Rural Innovation Grant Program supports creative, non-traditional ideas that focus on current issues and challenges that rural communities are facing that are associated with the themes of community investment, connection, and growth.

The Rural Housing Assessment Grant Program supports the use of publicly available information that’s online through the “Profile of Iowa” tool and rural community efforts to interpret the hard data.

It also helps implement changes to development codes, local ordinances, and housing incentives specific to a community’s needs in partnership with Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach.

“We do big things in rural Iowa, and public-private partnerships continue to open new doors to the creative thinking and entrepreneurial spirit that exists in all corners of the state. The investments announced today support everyday Iowans who are thinking outside the box to address the challenges that exist in their communities. I believe these unique projects will serve as a growth model for even greater prosperity in our small towns and rural communities.”

From Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds

“When developers see just how great the housing needs are from these assessments, they get the confidence they need to invest in rural Iowa. The rural innovation and housing needs studies are just one of the many concrete ideas the Empower Rural Iowa task forces have come forward with to grow the rural parts of our state.”

From Iowa Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, co-chair of the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative

In addition to the Rural Innovation grants, the cities of Creston Central City, Manning, Springville, Keokuk, and Stanton received Rural Housing Assessment grants.

Those cities will be working with ISU’s Extension and Outreach to undergo a facilitated readiness assessment and implementation process.

“With access to supportive programs and creative ideas from the awarded communities, the projects will be used as models to be replicated across the state, serving as best practices. Both of the rural grant programs align with the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative to revitalize communities, and we are proud to support our rural areas.”

From Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority and Iowa Finance Authority.

For more information on the Rural Innovation or Rural Housing Assessment programs, click here.

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