The Iowa Rural Development Council (IRDC) and the Empower Rural Iowa (ERI) task force met jointly July 2 – and the host community of Mount Ayr showed both organizations what an active, engaged small town looks like!
The joint meeting of IRDC, a non-profit public-private partnership, and ERI, a state commission of gubernatorially-appointed members, underscored the synergy that exists between the two groups. IRDC members, from federal and state agencies to associations, utilities, non-profits and educational institutions, hosted a resource fair that allowed attendees – including representatives of neighboring counties and communities – to get information and guidance.
Iowa 3rd District Congresswoman Cindy Axne participated in the resource fair, visiting with both resource providers and those seeking information. She spoke at length about issues related to rural broadband and health care.
Governor Kim Reynolds and Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg convened the joint meeting, introduced by IRDC Chairwoman Sandy Ehrig. They praised the Empower Rural Iowa task force members for their recommendations that led to new legislation expanding housing tax credit funds and new broadband grant dollars. Governor Reynolds also introduced the state’s new Rural Community Revitalization Program Manager Liesl Seabert, whose position was created as a recommendation of the ERI.
Both the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor highlighted next steps for both entities, related to housing, broadband and the development of rural leadership opportunities. Attendees then spoke up with ideas and potential solutions.
But the highlight of the day came when Mount Ayr organizers led a tour of the community, debuted a new promotional video of Ringgold County, and guided attendees through a local business, PodiumInk, and the Ringgold County Hospital. Meeting-goers were transported from site-to-site via tractor-pulled wagons used annually at the Iowa State Fair.
Iowa Rural Development Council members will come together next on September 12th for their quarterly meeting. More information on the next Empower Rural Iowa meeting is forthcoming.