DES MOINES – Recently, Governor Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) announced $16.5 million in grant funding for the following four projects through Destination Iowa. The $100 million program, announced in April, invests in transformational attractions that will bolster the quality of life in Iowa communities and attract visitors and new residents.
“Communities in all corners of the state are creating unique destinations, from the Field of Dreams in Dyersville to a thriving arts and culture scene in Sioux City,” Governor Reynolds said. “Destination Iowa will help more communities fuel tourism and economic growth while enhancing the quality of life for Iowans.”
The Siouxland Regional Trail System was awarded $7,000,000 to develop five trail projects and connect the communities of Sioux City, Le Mars, Hinton, Merrill, Sergeant Bluff. The project will provide over 100 miles of continuous trail projects in the area and includes the Cone Mountain Bike Park, the 18.5-mile PlyWood Trail and 4.3-mile Loess Hills Scenic Trail.
Universal Television, LLC, was awarded $6,000,000 for the development of a Field of Dreams television series. Filming will be based in several Iowa counties including Polk, Mahaska, Boone and Clinton, with primary sets located in Polk City. Plans include set construction of a ball field and refurbishment of a farmhouse in Polk City. Filming is scheduled to begin in 2022.
Polk County Conservation was awarded $2,500,000 for the Easter Lake North Shore Project, which will transform Des Moines’ Easter Lake into an accessible recreational hub for rowing, swimming, fishing, and other water sports. Plans include adaptive fishing boats, accessible canoe/kayak launches, an inclusive playground for children of all abilities, and an environmental education learning center.
Dallas County Conservation was awarded $1,000,000 to complete the remaining four miles of trail to connect the Raccoon River Valley Trail and High Trestle Trail in central Iowa. This project will create a 120-mile continuous loop of trail and connect two existing popular trails.
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.