Published for Region 6 Members & Partners
Region 6 Progress Report
See what Region 6 has been up to in 2021. Region 6 serves as a partner to communities in Hardin, Marshall, Poweshiek and Tama Counties by providing services to our communities. Read on to learn about the projects and services that impacted our communities in 2021.
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The Iowa River’s Edge Trail project will create a recreational trail stretching from Marshall to Hardin County on a former rail bed. When complete, the 34-mile trail will connect Marshalltown, Albion, Liscomb, Union, Gifford, Eldora and Steamboat Rock via a concrete trail that is ideal for bicycling, camping, walking and more.
The Iowa River’s Edge Trail construction continues to make progress. In 2021, Hardin County began a $1.8 million project to complete a 4.4 mile stretch of recreational trail improvements. Construction activities include rehabilitating old railroad bridges and paving a 10 foot wide trail. The paving project starts near the southwest part of Steamboat Rock and continues to near Highway 175 in Eldora. The bridge rehabilitation work continues to near Gifford. Construction is estimated to be completed by late 2022.
Iowa's River Edge Trail
Iowa's River Edge Trail
On the Marshalltown side, the trail is currently paved and usable up to Radio Tower Road (about a ½ mile outside of the city limits of Marshalltown). Stretching north, the next big destination is the crossing of the Iowa River, about 2.7 miles away. The next phase of construction will include replacing or rehabilitating four old railroad bridges that are in poor condition — about a $1.3 million effort. This phase is fully funded, and bid letting should be occurring in 2022. After the bridges are replaced, part of the distance to the Iowa River can be paved. Paving is estimated to cost $1 million for this stretch, and $300,000 has already been secured through a Federal Recreational Trails grant.
The City of Marshalltown has been awarded a $500,000 CDBG Downtown Revitalization grant by the Iowa Economic Development Authority The grant will fund Phase 1 of downtown revitalization by restoring 11 storefronts. The total cost of the project is estimated at $1.1 million.
In 2020, Grinnell was funded $500,000 to complete Phase 2 of their downtown revitalization work. This phase of the project targets nine facades with a $1.1 million budget. Construction has begun and is estimated to be completed in late 2022.
Downtown Marshalltown
Storefront Restorations to
Occur in Marshalltown
Albright's Bluff
Albright's Bluff Events Center
Iowa Falls has been awarded a $50,000 Commercial Façade grant from special CDBG-CV (COVID) funds. The grant will improve the façade of Albright’s Bluff special events center.
Ackley has also been awarded a $100,000 Commercial Façade grant from special CDBG-CV (COVID) funds. The grant will improve the façade of a downtown commercial building at 605 Main Street.
Marshalltown is also finishing up construction work on a previously funded $75,000 Community Challenge grant that revitalized the storefront and front of the building of Zamora’s Fresh Market in in the heart of downtown Marshalltown.
Region 6 helped area communities improve 23 owner-occupied homes in 2021. A total of $371,000 was spent to improve these homes. This funding helps area communities preserve older, affordable housing units for low-income families by focusing on exterior improvements to the home.
Ten of the 23 home improvements were funded through the CDBG housing program. These projects were located in Marshalltown ($152,000 spent), Melbourne ($55,000 spent), and Ackley ($75,000 spent). The Melbourne and Ackley CDBG grants concluded in the summer of 2021. The Marshalltown project will wrap up things in the summer of 2022.
The Region 6 Housing Trust Fund improved 13 low-income owner-occupied homes in 2021 with work totaling $89,000 across the region. The primary activity completed with this funding is emergency roof repairs. With older housing stock, it is important to prevent water from penetrating structural features of a house, which can quickly destroy homes. There is a multi-year waiting list to receive this funding due to demand for the program exceeding funds available.
Housing Before
Housing After
Region 6 Housing Trust Fund money was also spent to improve the Montezuma Sunnyview Square Apartments. Sunnyville Square is an apartment complex in Montezuma that houses low-income, elderly and disabled individuals. The apartments are owned and managed by a non-profit board, and the units receive USDA Rural Development funds for operating subsidies. The buildings have not been updated for roughly 40 years and badly needed improvements. The buildings and apartment units were in fair to poor condition. Past management had not properly maintained or reinvested funds in the facility.
Montezuma was the recipient of a $214,000 Iowa Economic Development Authority grant for housing improvements in 2021. The project will revitalize up to six older, affordable and lower income housing units. Common housing improvements include new siding, windows, and new roofs. After the improvements, these older homes will remain affordable and available for low income families. The project also assists in providing adequate affordable work force housing.
Willard's Building
Willard’s Building in Marshalltown
Downtown Eldora
Downtown Eldora Improvements
The City of Marshalltown was awarded a $550,000 CDBG Upper Story Housing grant by the Iowa Economic Development Authority. The grant will create five upper story housing units in the Willard’s building, located in downtown Marshalltown.
The City of Eldora was awarded a $375,000 CDBG Covid upper story housing conversion grant. This project will create two new affordable rental units. This project will renovate the upper story building at 1245 14th Avenue in downtown Eldora.
We continue to work with regional groups to improve upper story, vacant and other homes with current funding resources. Housing improvement is a priority for most regional communities. 
The State Center water treatment facility was constructed more than 40 years ago. The plant has deteriorating parts that may fail without warning that are well part their useful life. The current facility was also not built to soften water, which pushes the costs of water softening products and services onto individuals in the community. Region 6 staff helped the city secure a $500,000 grant through the Iowa Economic Development Authority to replace the water treatment facility with all new components. When the $1.6 million project is complete, State Center residents will enjoy safe, reliable drinking water that has less mineral content and a better taste. 
Clean Drinking Water
Albion Water Tower
The original City of Grinnell wastewater collection system was built in the 1930s. Over time, the system has experienced cracking, root intrusion, and leaking through old brick manholes. This leaking introduces “clean” stormwater and groundwater into the wastewater collection system (inflow and infiltration) which is then transported to the wastewater system and unnecessarily treated. Region 6 staff helped the city secure a $391,495 grant through the Iowa Economic Development Authority to seal up a portion of this old wastewater collection system in Grinnell. When the project is complete, the system will see a decrease in the water load that has to be treated at the water plant.
Three other water/sewer projects have received funding in the past and are now in the construction phase of the their projects. Albion is drilling a new drinking water well to access safe drinking water, Garwin is making improvements to their water distribution system to improve flow and pressure problems, and Marshall County is connecting the unincorporated community of Green Mountain to the Central Iowa Water Association wastewater collection and treatment network. 
The City of Marshalltown has been awarded $66,400 by the Iowa Economic Development Authority for improvements to Elks Park. Hardin County Conservation has received a $125,000 Land and Water Conservation Fund grant to improve the wastewater collection system for Pine Ridge Park and Campgrounds just outside of Steamboat Rock and connect to Steamboat Rock’s wastewater treatment system.
Elks Park
Elks Park in Marshalltown
Pine Ridge Park
Pine Ridge Park & Campgrounds
The City of Marshalltown has been awarded $680,000 by the Iowa Economic Development Authority for community facilities improvements for the new MICA services building.
Marshalltown has also been awarded $49,778 for the Marshalltown Emergency Food Box Program, an emergency food pantry that has served Marshall County since 1982. The funds from the Iowa Economic Development Authority will be used to purchase a new walk in cooler, walk in freezer, commercial cooler and freezer, utility carts and a pallet jack.
Emergency Food Box
Emergency Food Box Program
5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Grant
Grinnell Healthy Choices Grant
The City of Iowa Falls has been awarded $123,160 by the Iowa Economic Development Authority for improvements to Wiggles and Giggles Daycare through the CDBG-CV program.
The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has awarded grant funding to 11 communities in Iowa. The funded communities will work to create environments that support healthy choices. Bringing evidence-based strategies for healthy living into communities, 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! reaches children and adults where they live, learn, work, and play. Grinnell will receive $8,000 in funding for this initiative. This is the third and final year of funding for 5-2-1-0 in Grinnell.
A total of $4.6 million of regional Federal Highway Administration Funds through the Iowa Department of Transportation were approved for regional road improvements. 19.66 miles of eligible federal aid routes were improved across the region. Projects included resurfacing improvements to the old Lincoln Highway through State Center, work on D55 and S33 in Hardin County, work on S52 in Marshall County, work on F17 in Poweshiek County, and work on E64 in Tama County. One replacement vehicle for Peoplerides public transit was also approved. Roughly $8 million of road improvements were also approved for work from 2022 to 2024.
Road Construction
Iowa DOT Map
J & T Trucking in Hubbard desired to expand to a new site in Hubbard. This new site needed water improvements. We helped the City work through a process to use tax increment financing to pay for the water improvements and other possible Hubbard improvements. This work involved establishing an urban renewal plan and a general development plan.
Many communities throughout the region have zoning ordinances that have not been updated in some time. Working under old, outdated zoning rules can mean complicated processes when trying to attract new development. It can also expose cities to liabilities if they are not consistently applying the same rules to each development. We have recently worked with Le Grand and Montezuma to complete zoning updates that will make implementing new development in those communities much more streamlined. We are currently in the process of working with Traer to update their zoning ordinances.
Le Grand Zoning Map
Montezuma Zoning Map
We submitted two upper story rental housing conversion projects — one in Eldora downtown and one in Toledo downtown. The Toledo project includes renovating the upper story of a building at 134 High Street in downtown Toledo to create three one-bedroom apartments. This project will be the first step towards other renovations in the downtown area. The Eldora project will renovate a building at 1350 Washington Street in the Eldora square to create one two-bedroom apartment. 
Downtown Toledo
Downtown Toledo
Downtown Eldora
Downtown Eldora
Other applications and projects were submitted throughout the year. We continue to work hard to pursue available funding opportunities for local needs. If you have a project or a community need, do not hesitate to reach out and see what resources might be available!
Things started to get back to near normal in late 2021 for Peoplerides. Dispatchers, managers, and drivers are worn out from all the unusual schedules and disruptions. All Peoplerides staff do an excellent job helping people get to jobs, services, medical appointments, grocery stores, and other essential services. Peoplerides provided about 30,000 rides in 2021. This ridership is down 33% from FY 2019. It is our hope here in calendar year 2022 that things get back to normal. 
Peoplerides Passenger
Peoplerides Bus
The other future challenge facing Peoplerides began in FY 2019 with operating deficits. During the pandemic, some supplemental funds were available to cover operating deficits. Starting after 6/30/23, we will either need to have increased regular rural Medicaid rides, increased local financial support, or have roughly a 40% reduction in service hours from about 22,000 services hours to about 12,900 hours. This type of service reduction would mean that some rides that we currently provide could not be done. All of our drivers are very busy with getting people to desired destinations so there is no slack in the system. This is a major project work element here in calendar year 2022. 
State and federal transit covers roughly 40% of our operating cost. Passenger fares cover about 5% of the cost. Medicaid revenues support about 32% of the cost. That funding is at a contracted level for different rides that are requested. The funding gap is $253,000, or 23% of our operating cost. 
Other Iowa regional transit public transit systems are facing similar challenges. 
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