Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs awards $150,000 in community placemaking grants to the Cedar Valley

posted on Tuesday, January 5, 2021 in The Cedar Valley Community

DES MOINES – Nine communities across Iowa were awarded a share of $1.25 million in creative placemaking grants to build projects and strengthen communities, the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs announced today.

The funding comes from two creative placemaking programs – Iowa Great Places and Strengthening Communities– which are made possible by the Iowa Legislature’s Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund.

Through the Iowa Great Places program, the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs recognizes communities that have developed bold visions for the future and formed the plans, partnerships and projects to make those visions a reality.

“These programs help Iowans re-energize their communities, making them more attractive to businesses, families, and young professionals who are choosing where to set up shop or settle down to live, work and play,” Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Director Chris Kramer said. “We appreciate the Iowa Legislature’s ongoing support for these proven strategies to help Iowans boost the quality of life and stimulate economic growth.”

With the commitment of the Iowa Legislature, the State of Iowa has invested nearly $21 million in a total of 44 designated Iowa Great Places over the past 15 years, leveraging millions more in local and private investment.

Rural areas face unique demographic opportunities and economic challenges. Iowa’s fast-growing rural counties, in particular, benefit from strategic programs that will guide their growth and development while improving communities and creating more culturally vibrant places to live, develop our workforce, and raise our families.

Creative placemaking combines arts and creativity with community development. Recognizing communities who build upon their unique sense of place, the DCA works with leaders who have developed a vision for the future to enhance cultural vitality and quality of life with infrastructure investments including cultural centers and creative streetscaping that are connected to recreation, entertainment, and creative public spaces.

Grant Recipient: Grow Cedar Valley (Waterloo-Cedar Falls)

Project: Building a Connection to the Rivers

Project Description: This project will enhance the gateway of the Cedar River Water Trail between Gateway Park in downtown Cedar Falls and the Waterloo Marina site in downtown Waterloo. The project ties directly to the Cedar Valley Visioning Plan and will have a transformative impact on the downtown business districts in both communities by creating new public spaces and recreational opportunities in and along the Cedar River, which is on track to become a state-designated water trail in 2021.

Grant Amount: $150,000

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The Iowa Great Places and Strengthening Communities Grant programs are administered by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. More information is available at