Iowa Ideas 2022

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Community Development

Strategies to build, maintain, and grow the unique communities throughout the state.

Previous Sessions


Community Development Articles

  • It had been more than 25 years since Forest City — a northern Iowa city under 4,000 population, straddling Hancock and Winnebago counties — had seen an affordable housing development. “We were having a workforce constraint, like most everyone else,” said Beth Bilyeu, executive director of Forest City Economic Development. “We can hire people in ...
  • Newton, Iowa, is a much different place almost a decade and a half after the city lost its Fortune 500 company. The central Iowa city has spent the past 14 years reestablishing itself after Maytag, the washing machine manufacturer that at its peak employed more than 3,000 people, left the city in 2007.
  • Next year could be a big one for broadband expansion in Iowa. As funding from the state became available in July, many internet service providers are looking for a funding boost to expand fiber networks and bring Iowa up to speed.
  • Whether it's the derecho, coronavirus, or Iowa's rural housing challenges, finding affordable housing in Iowa will have a growing impact on Iowa's economy. What can communities do to help more projects get through the pipeline? Panelists include: Lauren Johnson, Polk County Housing Trust Fund; Stephanie Murphy, Cedar Rapids Neighborhood Finance ...
  • A look at the realities for immigrants arriving to Iowa and access to resources for success. Establishing a home, finding employment and connecting to a new community bring to light challenges that go unnoticed by many. Hear from panelists devoted to improving the process while recognizing the positive impact these individuals have to the state....
  • Group Violence Intervention (GVI) is a comprehensive, evidence-based, life-saving violence reduction strategy that brings community members together with law enforcement and social service providers to focus an antiviolence message on highly active street groups. GVI combines the best of law enforcement and community-driven approaches to improve...
  • Finding new and modern housing is a real challenge for some of Iowa's rural communities. Attracting a builder to take a risk of building new homes can be a challenge too. Several programs are taking innovative approaches to improving housing in communities around Iowa. Panelists include: Dan Clark, Iowa Prison Industries Homes for Iowa; Becky Ro...
  • The need for broadband has been highlighted like never before in Iowa during the COVID-19 pandemic as people suddenly were shifting to work and learn from home. With more than $50 million in CARES funding allocated to improve broadband access, will we see major progress on access in coming years? Panelists include: Matt Behrens, Deputy Director,...
  • Unique elements of a community can be a foundation to reinvent tired space. This session will explore traditional space alongside development projects that have had to pause due to the challenges of 2020. How can these projects move forward, bringing past and present into future economic opportunities? Panelists include: Nate Kaeding, Build to S...
  • Cindy Lint has been unemployed since April, struggling to find jobs during a pandemic when they are hard to come by. She can't submit applications for now since losing internet service from the Aug. 10 derecho, and health conditions limit what jobs she can take. 'I've given it to God because that's all I can do,” said Lint, 50.

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