The Iowa West Foundation has announced grants totaling $6.6 million to twenty-two nonprofit organizations and governmental entities in southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska working in the areas of economic development, education, placemaking, and healthy families programs and initiatives.
The Cycle 2 grants include $300,000 to Heartland Family Service in support of the second and third years of a three-year mental health pilot program and $45,000 MICAH House for general operating support. In addition, the foundation awarded $2 million to the City of Council Bluffs for the development of its Mid-America Center and $1 million for the development of the city's Riverfront Park; $55,975 to the City of Clarinda in support of a downtown façade revitalization initiative; and $50,000 to the Audubon Recreation Foundation for a proposed recreation center. The towns of Corning, Neola, Red Oak, and Shelby also received grants in support of placemaking projects.
"Historically, downtowns were the hub of the community where everyone gathered to shop and socialize, but many of our downtown areas have been neglected over the years and people have no desire to gather in an area that has become rundown," said Clarinda city manager Gary McClarnon. "We want to be a destination city, and in order to accomplish this, we need to start with revitalizing our downtown. This grant will help in the clean-up of dilapidated buildings and improvements of existing buildings in the district, with the ultimate hope to spur economic development."