Home / Blog / Government Notes: Cedar Rapids earns ‘Thriving Community’ designation, a tool to help housing develo

Government Notes: Cedar Rapids earns ‘Thriving Community’ designation, a tool to help housing develo

Aug 14, 2023Aug 14, 2023

Also, Linn County’s Joan McCalmant recognized for service to county government

Aug. 28, 2023 5:00 am

Cedar Rapids is among 11 Iowa communities to earn a Thriving Community designation from the Iowa Economic Development Authority and Iowa Finance Authority — giving developers a scoring bump when they seek competitive tax credits to finance housing projects.

The program is designed to reward communities for innovation in meeting the state’s housing demand. It will provide a scoring boost for the 2024 workforce housing tax credit program administered by IEDA and for federal low-income housing tax credit tax credits.

“This designation illustrates Cedar Rapids’ success as a leader in housing, quality of life and workforce development,” Mayor Tiffany O’Donnell said in a statement. “Cedar Rapids’ application demonstrated a unique ability to nourish key public-private partnerships and innovate — providing all the ingredients needed for a thriving community.”

City Manager Jeff Pomeranz said in a statement that recent and planned housing projects in the city’s core represent nearly 1,200 new units, with more to come.

“The mayor, city council, city staff and our private development partners are committed to providing diverse housing options that meet the needs of our community,” Pomeranz said. “The Thriving Communities designation will help advance our shared goals.”

Cedar Rapids was selected after submitting a written application and in-person pitch. Community Development Director Jennifer Pratt told The Gazette the application showed “how our community is using our planning processes, our development services processes, to make it attractive for people to invest in affordable housing.”

The pitch team included community members James Klein of Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust, John Tursi of the Boys and Girls Club of the Corridor, Jasmine Almoayyed of Kirkwood Community College, Chad Pelley of Twenty40 Building Concepts, O’Donnell and Pomeranz.

“It did really show firsthand how a lot of the initiatives we've been working on, a lot of the things that we have been doing to try to build this foundation in the community, is really being noticed by those people who are doing the work out there every day,” Pratt said.

Other communities receiving the designation were Charles City, Creston, Dubuque, Jefferson, Knoxville, Manning, Muscatine, Oskaloosa, Stanton and West Des Moines.

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Former Linn County Recorder Joan McCalmant was honored for her service in county government with the Iowa State Association of Counties’ Golden Eagle at its 2023 annual conference on Aug. 23 in Des Moines.

McCalmant, a past president of the association, began working in the Linn Recorder’s Office in 1986 as the chief deputy recorder, according to a news release.

She was elected to the office in 1998 after she was appointed to fill the unexpired term of the previous recorder. She served as recorder until 2022 and is now the chief deputy recorder.

McCalmant was president of the International Association of Clerks, Recorders, Election Officials and Treasurers in 2011 and the Iowa County Recorders Association in 2004-05. She has served on the ISAC board of directors from 2012 to 2022 and as its president in 2016. McCalmant served on the board for the Property Records Industry Association from 2003-2014, the last several as secretary.

Born and raised in Marion, she is a graduate of Marion High School and Central College in Pella. She currently lives in Hiawatha with her husband, Gary.

“Joan is a consummate professional, performing her duties as a recorder with a very high level of ethics and integrity,” Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner stated in her nomination. “Joan’s dependability, initiative and nobility have earned her the respect of both the citizens whom she served and other recorder professionals across the state and nation.”

The Golden Eagle — given annually since 2010 — recognizes extraordinary public service to ISAC and county government.

The Linn County Food Systems Council is taking grant applications from local organizations for Round 2 of its Food Access, Resiliency and Equity Grant program.

The program is funded by Linn County’s federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars. Application information is available on Linn County’s website at Completed applications are due by 5 p.m. Sept. 1. This is a competitive grant program.

FARE grants support food-related businesses and nonprofits in Linn County that played a role in COVID-19 pandemic response; promote public health and wellness; and address systemic food-related challenges.

Those eligible include but are not limited to farmers, processors, packagers, distributors, grocers, educators, administrators, social service agencies, nonprofits, food pantries, restaurants, food entrepreneurs and food innovators.

Contact the Planning & Development Department at (319) 892-5141 or by email at FoodSystems[email protected] with questions about the application.

Stage two of the Rochester Avenue reconstruction project is nearly complete, the city of Iowa City announced last week.

Stage two has included work on Rochester Avenue between Rochester Court and Rita Lyn Court. Paving was scheduled to start last week.

Once paving is complete, sidewalks and driveways between the two streets will be installed. This work is anticipated to wrap up in mid-September, which is when the project area will open to traffic.

Until then, drivers should still use the detour of First Avenue, Court Street and Seventh Avenue.

Once the second stage is completed, crews will begin on stage three, which includes Rochester Avenue from Rita Lyn Court up to (but not including) the First Avenue intersection. The intersection will remain open during the work.

Stage three is anticipated to be complete by mid-November, which is when Rochester Avenue will reopen for winter months.

Stage four is scheduled for spring 2024.

Students in Prairie High School’s medical career and agriculture pathways now have access to an Anatomage Table, a technologically advanced 3D anatomy visualization and virtual dissection tool.

The table gives students a real-world learning experience, according to a news release from the district.

The district’s medical pathway launched last year, giving students another way to train toward a certified nursing assistant license while in high school. While a similar program is offered through Kirkwood Community College, having the class at Prairie during the school day removes barriers for some students.

The agriculture program, which is in its fourth year, continues to engage students with the addition of a new Prairie Ag center last year.

The Prairie Ag center sits on 176 acres of land directly north of Prairie High School that’s owned by the College Community School District. As the district continues to grow, new schools will eventually be built on the acres not being used by the agriculture program.

The Clear Creek Amana School District is accepting nominations for the school foundation’s Hall of Fame award. Nominations are due Friday, Sept. 1.

The Foundation's Hall of Fame recognizes individuals for their service and contributions in the areas of volunteerism, professional or educational success and/or outstanding support for the district or community.

Since 2001, 48 individuals have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The nomination should include:

Nominations can be emailed to ccafound[email protected] or mailed to P.O. Box 30, Oxford, IA 52322.

This year’s award winners will be announced during a presentation at one of the home varsity football games this fall.

Government Notes is published Mondays and contains updates from area governmental bodies. Gazette reporters Marissa Payne, Izabela Zaluska and Grace King contribute.

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