WATERLOO – It remains unclear whether Waterloo and Cedar Falls will compete for funding from an initial pool of $100 million in federal COVID-19 relief dollars to help fund “transformational” attractions and improvements along and in proximity to the Cedar River.
Officials from both cities reportedly dreamed big when it came earlier this year to consider a potentially lucrative opportunity, a joint Destination Iowa bid. They had worked with Isaiah Corbin, community planner for the Iowa Northland Regional Council of Governments, and Cary Darrah, CEO and President of Grow Cedar Valley.
However, the ball is apparently in Waterloo’s court right now.
Most recently, Darrah framed it in an email Monday as “we’re sort of on hold” until Waterloo makes a decision on the bid. She did not include details of the decision needed.
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Any official grant applications would be presented to the respective municipal councils before being submitted.
“The City of Waterloo is working on potential funding options and projects to work with the City of Cedar Falls for a Destination Iowa project,” Noel Anderson, director of community planning and development, wrote in an email Wednesday. “The goal is for the project(s) to all be based on the Cedar River connection (downtown-to-downtown type mentality) that we all share in the community. Hopefully we can work out some details in the next few days to see what is possible.
Anderson could not be reached for further comment.
The application could raise millions of dollars in support of these Cedar Valley public projects. The focus is on a new whitewater course in Waterloo, Corbin said a few weeks ago when reached by phone.
The restrictions relate to Sunset Street, Iowa Street, Third Avenue Southwest and Fourth Avenue Southwest.
This “Waterloo Whitewater Park” came with a preliminary price of $9.5 million in May. A previous proposal had the river course nearly a mile stretching from Park Avenue to Sixth Street.
The Destination Iowa program is administered by the Iowa Economic Development Authority and has been on the radar of city officials since at least April.
As of Tuesday, Kanan Kappelman, a spokesperson for IEDA, said 81 Iowa destination applications had been submitted, totaling $188.7 million in requested funding.
They ranged from trail development to recreational and water sports facilities, she said.
Cedar Falls officials have previously confirmed that they were not heavily involved in the request.
And Corbin said the city had more of a ‘minor role’ in the process, especially after it last month received a $1.5 million grant from IEDA for improvements to the recreational river, bridge from Main Street to the downstream side of the West First Street Bridge, which play into the broader view local officials have of the Cedar River.
The vision is much bigger than what can be accomplished with the grant and has been discussed for years before the announcement of this latest grant opportunity.
Previously, a number of “flagship projects” were under consideration as part of the Candidature File: the Whitewater Park (Waterloo), the Fourth Street Bridge lighting and towers (Waterloo), the indoor hard-court tournament center (Waterloo), River Road Parkway (Waterloo), multimodal parking ramp (Cedar Falls), and Center Street and Main Street Bridge lighting (Cedar Falls).
The club is finalizing the design for a new monument between the Little Red Schoolhouse and the Behrens-Rapp gas station on West First Street.
In May, when officials from Grow Cedar Valley and INRCOG appeared before the Cedar Falls City Council to learn more about the Destination Iowa program, Danny Laudick, senior director of GCV’s economic development program, said to the Courier that his app could be in the $30 to $50 range. million dollars, although 60% of this sum is compensated by local sources.
“It’s a possibility that it may or may not happen,” Corbin said a few weeks ago.
Kappelman, the IEDA spokesperson, said funding requests are reviewed continuously on a rolling basis, which “gives those working on funding or other elements time to put together a strong application. who meets all the eligibility conditions”.
Projects will be announced gradually through Dec. 31 or until funds run out, she said.
“We welcome applications for eligible projects to be submitted as soon as they are ready. We seek to fund transformational attractions and projects, so increased odds are based on complete and compelling applications,” Kappelman said.
If “we lose one more officer, which is very likely,” Police Chief Mike Dean said Evansdale would not be able to handle 24/7 duty.
To date, IEDA has announced two rounds of award-winning projects, the first in June totaling $16.5 million and the second in July totaling $4.65 million.
The most recent included $3.5 million to help pave 16 miles along the Cedar Valley Nature Trail and other projects like bridge replacements.
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