29 Iowa communities receive state grants to revitalize downtowns

Downtown Coon Rapids, Iowa. Coon Rapids plans to use its funding to transform a former seed company building downtown into a new training space for an industrial biotech company.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) has awarded $2.9 million in Catalyst Grant funding to 29 communities across the state.

Each community will receive $100,000 toward a development project, which is paired with matched funds from within the community. The grant money will assist with the redevelopment or rehabilitation of buildings to stimulate economic growth and reinvestment.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg announced the funding at the 2019 Iowa Rural Development Summit in Grinnell last week.

“Each catalyst project is unique, inspiring different types of growth and development depending on the communities where they’re located,” said Lt. Gov. Gregg, in the announcement. “We appreciate the engagement of local leadership and the combination of public and private investment it takes to make the catalyst projects a reality.”

The Community Catalyst Program was created in 2018 by the IEDA to help create fundamental, positive change in Iowa’s downtowns.

Of the 29 communities awarded during the 2019 application round, 16 have populations of fewer than 1,500. The Community Catalyst Program rules require at least 40 percent of funds be awarded to cities with populations of fewer than 1,500 people.

The Catalyst Grants are awarded annually based on funding availability. In 2018, IEDA awarded $1.8 million in grants to 18 cities.

A full list of the 2019 Community Catalyst Grant recipients and their projects is available here.