Today, Governor Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) announced $14.1 million in grant funding for the following four projects through Destination Iowa. The $100 million program, announced in April, invests in transformational projects that will bolster the quality of life in Iowa communities and attract visitors and new residents.
The Hoover Presidential Foundation has been awarded $5,000,000 toward an overhaul of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch and the addition of 2,250 square feet of updated and interactive displays. The redesign and renovation will modernize the visitor experience, taking guests on a journey of learning about Iowa’s only U.S. president and his wife, First Lady Lou Henry Hoover. The award represents 25% of the total project investment of $20,309,426.
The Webster County Conservation Board and the City of Fort Dodge have been awarded $4,000,000 toward the Central River District Park and Discovery Center. The center will offer meeting spaces, indoor and outdoor classrooms, a large interpretive area, and a scenic overlook with views of the Des Moines River. The award represents 17% of the total project investment of $19,906,495, which also includes a 1.3-acre stormwater treatment wetland and in-stream recreational features such as a whitewater drop, fishing pools and access points.
The City of Mason City and Cerro Gordo County have been awarded $4,500,000 toward several projects that will enhance the area as a biking/mountain biking destination. These components include new single-track trails, a new bike park and pump track, and key connectors in the North Iowa trails system. The award represents 40% of the total project investment of $11,873,265 and will also play a key role in providing direct access to all trails, adding trailside amenities, and adding improvements to the Ingebretson Campground.
Cinema Paradiso, LLC has been awarded $600,000 toward transforming an unoccupied Davenport structure into a two-screen movie theater called The Last Picture House. With connections to Hollywood, the movie theater will be the home of exclusive events featuring actors alongside local filmmakers and film screenings. The space will also include a social lounge, cocktail bar, and a rooftop bar. The award represents 16% of the total project investment of $3,719,075.
IEDA began accepting applications on May 9 and will continue to review applications as they arrive through December 31 or until funding runs out. Applications are scored based on eligibility, completeness, and the project’s ability to meet the program goal of creating transformational tourism attractions. Cities, counties, nonprofits and other organizations can apply for Destination Iowa grants through four separate funds: Economically Significant Development, Outdoor Recreation, Tourism Attraction, and Creative Placemaking.
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 is being made available through the federal American Rescue Plan Act.