GRINNELL, IOWA – Leaders from more than 75 Iowa rural communities will gather in Grinnell next week to seek solutions to issues confronting them and share ideas and successes.
The third Iowa Rural Development Summit will be held in Grinnell April 10-12, bringing together elected officials, business leaders and community members from towns with populations as small as 565.
The Summit is sponsored by the Iowa Rural Development Council (IRDC), a public-private state non-profit that works to support small towns addressing issues such as housing, broadband access, day care, business development and leadership.
“We are thrilled to have such a crowd coming to the Summit,” said IRDC Chair Sandy Ehrig. “We continue to grow and that demonstrates the value rural leaders are getting from the Summit.”
Ehrig, who was appointed co-chair of Governor Kim Reynold’s “Empower Rural Iowa” task force last year, said the goals of the governor’s initiative are embedded in the Summit agenda.
“A number of sessions will reflect the Empower focus,” Ehrig added. “Growing rural Iowa, connecting rural Iowa, and investing in rural Iowa are all elements that every small town has to consider as they look ahead.”
The Summit will highlight success stories and local case studies throughout its 1½ day program. For example, the city of Humboldt will share the story of its journey to a new day care center, a challenge many rural communities are facing today. And the city of Mount Vernon will share its efforts to expand the number of retail businesses downtown.
Another Summit highlight will be the announcement of the 2019 Iowa Community Catalyst awards, $100,000 grants from the Iowa Economic Development Authority for the restoration or demolition of commercial buildings.
Ehrig says plans are already underway for the next Iowa Rural Development Summit, April 15-17, 2020.