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DCA accepting Iowa Great Places Letters of Intent through Oct. 1

Posted August 30, 2013 in Web Exclusives

DES MOINES – The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and the Iowa Great Places Citizens’ Advisory Board today announced it will accept Letters of Intent this fall from Iowa communities interested in seeking designation as an Iowa Great Place and funding for related, eligible vertical infrastructure projects. The Iowa Legislature has authorized $1 million in Great Places funding to award during the Fiscal Year 2014 (July 1, 2013-June 30, 2014) grant round.

“Today we challenge Iowa communities, regions, and neighborhoods to recognize and invest in what makes their place a Great Place,” said Mary Cownie, director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. “To truly impact community vitality, we must invest in that which defines us – our artistic, historic and cultural fabric – in order to have the greatest impact on the quality of life in Iowa. We are grateful to the Iowa Legislature for recognizing the program’s successful outcomes and making this opportunity possible.”

In its reinvigorated form, Iowa Great Places will favor 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. New Iowa Great Places should also demonstrate that they have achieved a guiding vision plan and interrelated set of strategies; broad-based support for their project(s) as evidenced by the presence of multiple local and regional partners and public-private partnerships; and strong organizational capacity as demonstrated by financial and programmatic performance and service to constituents.

“The Iowa Great Places Citizens’ Advisory Board is excited to see a renewed commitment for this valuable program from the Iowa Legislature and Department of Cultural Affairs,” said Nick Glew of Marion, chair of the Iowa Great Places Citizens’ Advisory Board. “This investment leverages creativity and vision at the local level to help make bold, priority projects become reality.”

Iowa communities and regions seeking designation as a new Iowa Great Place will first submit a Letter of Intent to apply. Based on their Letter of Intent, eligible lead applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal for consideration by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and Iowa Great Places Citizens’ Advisory Board. Lead applicants invited to submit a full proposal that are subsequently awarded funding will earn designation as an Iowa Great Place on behalf of their neighborhood, district, community or region.

To apply to the program, communities must visit to create and submit an online Letter of Intent by October 1, 2013. Late, incomplete or ineligible Letters of Intent will not be considered.

The list of deadline dates for this year’s application process follows:

·        Oct. 1, 2013, Deadline to Submit Online Letter of Intent

·        Oct. 15, 2013, Notification of Invitation to Submit Full Proposal

·        Jan. 15, 2014, Deadline to Submit Full Proposal

·        Apr. 30, 2014, Notification of Funding Award and Great Places Designation

Created in 2005, the Iowa Great Places program aligns state and local resources toward cultivating the unique and authentic qualities of Iowa neighborhoods, districts, communities and regions to make them great places to live and work, primarily through investments in cultural infrastructure. Since 2006, more than $12 million in Iowa Great Places funding has been awarded to 28 Iowa communities and regions. The return on investment has been significant, as reported in a 2010 Economic Impact Report:

  • Great Places grants have been leveraged on an average of 22 to 1 by local communities
  • Great Places projects have resulted in 1,012 construction jobs and 707 permanent jobs among the first nine places studied

The Iowa Great Places program is administered by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. For more information, visit or contact Iowa Great Places Coordinator David Schmitz at or 515-242-6195.

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