DES MOINES -- Today, Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) announced $26.88 million in grant funding through the final round of Destination Iowa, a $100 million investment in quality of life and tourism attractions. In recognition of the high interest in the program, Gov. Reynolds also announced an additional investment of $15 million to fund Destination Iowa applications from rural communities that did not receive grants in previous rounds.

In all, Destination Iowa awards were granted to 46 projects totaling $115 million that activated $480,265,783 in total investment.

“Destination Iowa has inspired communities in all corners of the state to dream big about projects that will bolster quality of life and attract newcomers,” Gov. Reynolds said. “The demand is so high, especially in rural areas, that I’ve extended the program to help more rural communities realize those dreams.”  

IEDA opened the Destination Iowa program in May 2022 and accepted applications through December 31. Applications were scored based on eligibility, completeness, and the project’s ability to meet the program goal of creating transformational tourism attractions. Destination Iowa grants have been open to cities, counties, nonprofits and other organizations through four separate funds: Economically Significant Development, Outdoor Recreation, Tourism Attraction, and Creative Placemaking.  

The seventh round of Destination Iowa funded the following 10 projects. For the additional $15 million, IEDA reviewed applications already submitted by rural communities, defined as 30,000 residents or fewer that are not adjacent to communities of 30,000 or more residents.

 

Final awards made from the original $100 million allocation:

The Dubuque Art Museum was awarded $8,000,000 toward the construction of a new museum and a 10,000-square-foot outdoor sculpture garden. The award represents 20% of the total project investment of $39,931,512.

The Dickinson County Conservation Board was awarded $3,500,000 to develop the new Sherwood Forest Park on the former site of The Inn at Okoboji resort. The award represents 35% of the total project investment of $10,013,197.

The Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines was awarded $3,280,000 for major upgrades including a new Big Cat Conservation exhibit and an expanded seal and sea lion facility. The award represents 18% of the total project investment of $18,000,000.

The City of Cedar Rapids was awarded $3,000,000 toward the LightLine Loop project in the Czech Village and NewBo District. The award represents 16% of the total project investment of $19,255,775.

The City of Dubuque was awarded $3,000,000 for the addition of an open-air amphitheater on Schmitt Island. The award represents 19% of the total project investment of $15,442,961.

The City of Marshalltown was awarded $2,000,000 for the Linn Creek District development and creative placemaking efforts. The award represents 32% of the total project investment of $6,251,115.

Story County Conservation was awarded $1,500,000 to pave a portion of the Heart of Iowa Nature Trail east of Ames, connecting to Nevada and Maxwell. This award represents 31% of the total project investment of $4,819,000.

The India Heritage & Cultural Center was awarded $900,000 toward expanding the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center near Madrid. The award represents 23%of the total project investment of $3,976,023.

The Putnam Museum and Science Center in Davenport was awarded $900,000 toward an expansion project. The award represents 23% of the total project investment of $3,965,449.

The African American Museum of Iowa in Cedar Rapids was awarded $800,000 toward major renovations at the museum and the reinstallation of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.-inspired “Trumpet” sculpture and garden. The award represents 17% of the total project investment of $4,827,339.

 

Awards made from the additional $15 million:

The Southeast Iowa Sports Commission was awarded $2,500,000 to develop the Ottumwa SportsPlex Development Project. The award represents 23% of the total project investment of $10,737,449.

The Midwest Old Settlers and Threshers Association was awarded $500,000 to improve and enhance existing campground facilities at the Midwest Old Settlers and Threshers Association grounds. The award represents 38% of the total project investment of $1,312,525.

Jasper County Conservation was awarded $550,000 for the Jasper County Conservation Environmental Education Center. The award represents 25% of the total project investment of $2,204,509.

The City of Denison was awarded $4,500,000 for the Crawford County Wellness and Recreation Center. The award represents 24% of the total project investment of $18,643,000.

America's First Great Dam Foundation was awarded $115,000 for the 1913 Hydro-Electric Turbine Visitor Center project in Keokuk. The award represents 38% of the total project investment of $303,325.

Wapello County was awarded $500,000 for improvements and enhancements to the Pioneer Ridge Park Campground. The award represents 40% of the total project investment of $1,260,975.

The Clayton County Conservation Board was awarded $345,000 to modernize and enhance the Osborne Welcome Center and Campground. The award represents 40% of the total project investment of $862,500.

The City of Treynor was awarded $800,000 for a multi-phase park and recreation project. The award represents 31% of the total project investment of $2,577,455.

Jefferson County was awarded $450,000 for improvements and enhancements to the Jefferson County Prairie Ridge Campground. The award represents 39% of the total project investment of $1,166,430.

The City of Dayton and the Dayton Community Club were awarded $800,000 for improvements to the Dayton Oak Park Trails Rodeo and Events Center. The award represents 34% of the total project investment of $2,372,703.

The City of Keosauqua was awarded $300,000 for the Lower Des Moines Water Trail. The award represents 32% of the total project investment of $950,249.

The Stanton Community Foundation and Montgomery County were awarded $850,000 for the Stanton Area Trail Project. The award represents 35% of the total project investment of $2,456,110.

Pearson Lakes Art Center in Okoboji was awarded $185,000 for the Art Smart Children’s Interactive Gallery project. The award represents 25% of the total project investment of $749,303.

Osceola County Conservation Board was awarded $200,000 to expand the Willow Creek Campground. The award represents 40% of the total project investment of $500,000.

The YMCA of Washington County was awarded $750,000 for an Indoor Aquatic Center. The award represents 10% of the total project investment of $7,689,975.

Marshall County Conservation was awarded $400,000 to improve and further develop the Green Castle Recreation Area Campground. The award represents 34% of the total project investment of $1,160,000.

The City of Muscatine was awarded $1,000,000 for the Muscatine Indoor Sports Complex. The award represents 25% of the total project investment of $4,000,000.

The City of Fort Madison was awarded $250,000 for the Fort Madison River Landing project. The award represents 11% of the total project investment of $2,256,317.

Funded projects must be completed by June 30, 2026. For more information on the Destination Iowa program, visit iowaeda.com/destination-iowa/. Funding for this program has been made available through the federal American Rescue Plan Act.