Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Home RSS

Marshalltown named Iowa Great Place

April 17, 2014
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

DCA announces 3 new Iowa Great Places and awards $613,500

DES MOINES The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) today announced it has approved an Iowa Great Places Citizen Advisory Board recommendation to award $613,500 for projects in three new Iowa Great Places Clear Lake's Surf District, Madison County and Marshalltown and the Danish Village

"We're very excited the Iowa Great Places program is being reinvigorated with the addition of these three communities," DCA Director Mary Cownie said. "Congratulations to them and the Danish Villages for receiving project grant funding this year, and we thank the Citizen Advisory Board members for their tireless work and Governor Branstad, Lt. Governor Reynolds and the Iowa Legislature for their support."

"It gives me pleasure to see such a high level of visioning, collaboration and private investment happening in communities across our state as represented by these projects," said Nick Glew of Marion, chair of the Iowa Great Places Citizen Advisory Board. "These communities are investing in what makes them unique and authentic Great Places."


Marshalltown's proposal, "From Imagine to Reality," adds public art and built environment components to key community projects. The projects are being undertaken in response to an extensive community visioning plan entitled "Imagine 7 Big Ideas." The goal is to strengthen community identity and pride by enhancing the aesthetic environment of the city and to elevate these projects from good to great.

Iowa Great Places awarded $350,000 this year for two projects in Marshalltown:

Roundhouse Renovations

13th Street District Revitalization

"We are very happy to be officially designated as an Iowa Great Place, as we believe Marshalltown truly is a great community! Planning for this grant application has been a collaborative effort between the Arts & Culture Alliance, the Marshalltown Public Art Committee, the City of Marshalltown, the Marshalltown Convention & Visitors Bureau, the school district, and the 13th Street District Committee. We're looking forward to adding public art and other enhancements to two iconic locations for Marshalltown the Roundhouse at Marshalltown High School and the 13th Street District, which serves as the entrance to the Veterans Home as well as a neighborhood center." Mary Giese, Executive Director, Marshall County Arts & Culture Alliance, 641-485-7457

Clear Lake's Surf District, Madison County and Marshalltown join program, receive grants

Danish Villages also awarded funding for Museum green roof and prairie installation

The program challenges Iowans to create community development proposals that exemplify bold thought and innovation; encourage creativity and entrepreneurship; foster a sense of place and identity; and demonstrate a commitment to enhancing community vitality and quality of life. Proposals are submitted to and reviewed by the 12-person Iowa Great Places Citizen Advisory Committee, which looks for the following criteria in making its recommendations:

a guiding vision plan and interrelated set of strategies

broad-based support for projects that include multiple local and regional partners and public-private partnerships

strong organizational capacity demonstrated by financial and programmatic performance and service to constituents

This year, the board reviewed proposals from 18 Iowa communities, with six finalists requesting a total of $1.9 million. The list of new Iowa Great Places announced today and projects receiving funding follows:

(Iowa Great Place)

(Project Proposal)

(Grant Award for projects)

(Quote from Local Contact)

Clear Lake's Surf District

The legendary Surf Ballroom is the focal point of the Surf District. The anticipated outcomes of the projects include promoting the historic, artistic, educational and cultural qualities of the Surf District; enhancing the built environment around the historic Surf Ballroom; and providing a way-finding system to promote the Surf District as a destination.

Iowa Great Places awarded $101,000 this year for four projects in Clear Lake's Surf District:

3 Stars Plaza Sound System

Wayfinding Signage System

Parking Lot Enhancements and Landscaping

Surf marquee improvements

"These projects will revitalize the Surf District and improve our community's economic vitality and cultural awareness as we continue to enhance public spaces in and around the Surf District. It's certainly an honor to be considered one of Iowa's Great Places." Laurie Lietz, Surf Ballroom, Executive Director, 641-357-6151

"This is a very welcome announcement. The recognition speaks well of the public and private investment that has been made in the Surf District the past six years." Scott Flory, Clear Lake City Administrator

Madison County

Madison County's proposal included projects to improve quality of life and attract thousands to the county. The projects will be long-term assets that improve quality of life for existing residents and provide ongoing education, historic preservation, and entertainment value to central and south central Iowa. Specifically, the projects will enhance a strong base of cultural attractions that make Madison County a Great Place.

Iowa Great Places awarded $97,500 this year for two projects in Madison County:

John Wayne Birthplace Museum Exhibits

John Wayne Birthplace Trail

"The Iowa Great Places designation is an exciting step in our community's vision to establish Madison County as a destination. The Great Places funding for the John Wayne Birthplace Museum and John Wayne Birthplace Trail will help to realize a decades-long dream of many community leaders to construct a memorial and lasting tribute worthy of one of the world's most famous actors whose roots began right here in Madison County. Funding for this project and designation as an Iowa Great Place will certainly help Madison County to promote our heritage and our cultural significance, while drawing additional visitors to Madison County to explore our roots and unique place in film history. Madison County is absolutely an Iowa great place, and the stamp of approval from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs is icing on the cake." Heather Riley, Madison County Chamber of Commerce, Executive Director, 515-462-1185

Danish Villages

DCA also approved the Citizen Advisory Board's recommendation to award $65,000 to the Museum of Danish America Curatorial Center Green Roof and Prairie Installation for landscape enhancements and fabrication and installation of nine interpretive signs at the new 8,000 square-foot Curatorial Center. The project will benefit the community, support the local economy by increasing tourism, and help the natural environment by reclaiming a significant portion of land for bird and wildlife habitat, native plant species, and natural water management and filtration.

"Funding from the Iowa Great Places program has given the Museum of Danish America (formerly known as The Danish Immigrant Museum) the opportunity to continue developing its 30-acre Jens Jensen Prairie Landscape Park. This year we will install additional interpretive signs, plant trees as well as two rose meadows and install a green roof on a new 8,000 square-foot curatorial center. The green roof will serve as an elevated continuation of the Jens Jensen Prairie Landscape Park and will be unusual in that it will incorporate prairie grasses and flowers instead of sedums, which are most commonly used on green roofs. We are proud to be an Iowa Great Place and appreciate the support of our projects which incorporates values of sustainability, conservation and community quality of life. Terri Johnson, Administrative Manager, Museum of Danish America, 712-764-7001

According to a 2010 Economic Impact Report by O'Brien Economic Consulting, from 2005-2009 the first nine Iowa Great Places designees saw the following outcomes from participation in the program:

Iowa Great Places grants created 1,012 construction jobs and 707 permanent jobs

More than $400 million invested in projects that are currently under construction or completed

Iowa Great Places grants have been leveraged on an average of 22-to-1 by local communities

Created in 2005, Iowa Great Places now includes 31 Iowa communities, with Clear Lake's Surf District, Madison County and Marshalltown the most recent additions to the program since 2010. The program is administered by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. For more information, including Iowa Great Places community profiles, visit or contact Iowa Great Places Coordinator David Schmitz at or 515-242-6195.



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web