economic development

Eastern Iowa Airport

A construction project that will enable the Eastern Iowa Airport to expand its cargo operation is underway.

UPS will be moving into the new building. The 40,000-square-foot cargo facility is going up at a cost of $10.2 million.

City of Des Moines

City leaders in Des Moines have been contemplating what to do with an industrial area near the east side of downtown for about ten years.

Developers have now introduced a master plan for the area.

The 260-acre spot south of Des Moines’ East Village is known as the Market District.

It was the city’s preferred spot for a new federal courthouse, but government officials chose the former YMCA location on the west bank of the Des Moines River for the building.

Now, the master plan sees apartments, condominiums, town homes, shops and restaurants in the district.

Bushel Boy Farms

Minnesota-based Bushel Boy Farms is expanding its fresh produce business to Mason City. North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corporation president Chad Schreck said the $35 million investment involves a 50-acre facility to grow and package tomatoes. He said the project will be built in three phases.

Chief Judge of the Southern District of Iowa, John Jarvey, said having a new courthouse will fix the security and accessibility problems of the current 90-year-old building.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Construction is underway on a new federal courthouse in downtown Des Moines. Funding for the project was approved by Congress in 2016, and the groundbreaking held Wednesday morning follows years of disagreement on where it should be built.

Fire At Will / Creative Commons

On this edition of River to River, listeners will learn how a pair of Iowa brick-and-mortar retailers have been adjusting to the rise of e-commerce. These retailers are looking to emphasize services that online shopping cannot provide, such as experiences, entertainment options and advice on products. 

Erolld Belegu, an advisor to Kosovo's prime minister, explains the country's incentives for Iowa businesses.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

The Republic of Kosovo is making a pitch for Iowa companies to invest in the young country’s economy. Representatives from Iowa’s sister-state in southeastern Europe were in Norwalk Wednesday to promote a program which includes 1,200 acres of land that will be parceled out to companies willing to build new operations in the country.

Former Des Moines city councilwoman, Christine Hensley, has been helping organize opposition to the construction of a new federal courthouse on a former YMCA site.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Some Des Moines business leaders and city council members want the federal government to reconsider plans for a new courthouse on a coveted piece of real estate in downtown Des Moines. The agency in charge of the $137 million project could decide how to move forward as soon as Wednesday.

Flickr

Iowa averages around seven bicycle crash fatalities per year. Tragically, three cyclists have lost their lives in the past two weeks alone. What can we do as drivers and cyclists to prevent these tragedies, and what can Iowa lawmakers do to protect the Iowans we share our roads with?

President Trump speaks as he visits a new section of the border wall with Mexico in Calexico, California, Friday April 5, 2019.
Jacquelyn Martin / AP

On a recent visit to the southern border in California, President Trump recently said there is no room in the U.S. for more migrants. But many employers in Iowa say that statement doesn’t fit their reality. Instead, they are hoping immigration can provide workers to rebuild a shrinking labor force.

In Iowa, more people are retiring than joining the job market. The state is tied with New Hampshire, Vermont and North Dakota for the lowest unemployment rate in the country at 2.4 percent. For some businesses, finding enough workers is their greatest challenge.

Kate Payne / IPR

A new restaurant will help keep a historic building open in one Iowa small town, after a well-loved bistro closed down earlier this year.

Courtesy of Sioux City

Sioux City council members on Monday adopted plans for a multi-purpose venue that will host everything from farm shows to soccer tournaments to dog shows. Officials expect the Siouxland Expo Center to draw people from throughout the region.

Kate Payne / IPR

The head of a U.S. manufacturing group highlighted the need for workers and immigration reform during a visit to Iowa.

Swiss Meat and Sausage has been butchering animals and selling meats in a small, unincorporated east-central Missouri town for 50 years. Co-owner Janice Thomas wants to expand, and to do that, she’ll need more business from out-of-town customers.

“If there is one place that has some room, it’s with our online ordering,” she said.

The community of Swiss has minimal internet access: It’s not high speed, and it’s unreliable.

Kate Payne

One of rural Iowa’s most unique restaurants is losing its chef, leaving the future of the Ladora Bank Bistro somewhat uncertain. The struggle to find a new owner for the restaurant shows how difficult it can be to keep historic buildings open in small town Iowa. 

Katie Peikes/IPR

Developers are bringing a shuttered historic hotel in Sioux City back to life.

John Pemble/IPR file

Iowa’s economic development head made her case before state lawmakers Tuesday on the Iowa's leading challenges when it comes to fostering business and workforce. In making a pitch for maintaining her agency's funding, Director Deb Durham urged lawmakers on the Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee to consider how to improve quality of life in Iowa and prepare for a changing economy.

Katie Peikes/IPR

Sioux City council members have gotten a look at the latest plan to transform a vacant lot along the city’s riverfront into a tourist destination.

Kate Payne / IPR

Leaders in several Johnson County communities are agreeing to collaborate on growing businesses in the region. Area mayors say they’ll work together to attract and retain companies, instead of competing for them outright. 

Courtesy Cris Bro Hospitality

In less than a year, the Cedar Falls will likely have two convention centers.

Chris Bro Hospitality Monday broke ground on an expansion to its existing Hilton Garden Inn.  The project will add 92 rooms and include meeting space for 700 hundred people.  A second proposed development just a mile away includes a new hotel and banquet seating for one thousand.

Cedar Falls Tourism Bureau spokesperson Becky Wagner says the new development will compliment a second proposed development just a mile away.

John Pemble / IPR file

Iowa Wesleyan University may be closing its doors after 176 years due to "significant financial challenges". Without an immediate infusion of cash, this may be the small liberal arts college's last semester, leaving students, faculty and staff wondering: What’s next?

Courtesy of Sioux City https://www.sioux-city.org/home/showdocument?id=17457

Sioux City hopes to draw more people into the city by making part of its riverfront more fun and interesting.

Michael Coghlan via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikecogh/8035396680/

Linn County officials and non-profit organizations want to help former inmates re-enter society. An upcoming expungement clinic is aimed at helping Iowans work past their criminal records.

Amy Mayer/IPR

At the Wild Rose Casino in Jefferson, Connie Wehmeyer says she likes the slots tournaments, the free Tuesday donuts and the fact that Wild Rose puts money into the community.

“It’s good for the county,” she said. She should know. Wehmeyer only travels eight miles from her home in Grand Junction to enjoy the gaming. And last year alone, Grow Greene County, the “qualified sponsoring organization,” or non-profit partner, that receives 5 percent of Wild Rose’s revenue, awarded nearly $1.5 million in grants to municipalities, school districts, non-profits and other groups.

Courtesy of Sioux City

Officials involved in a western Iowa expo center project say the venue could bring tourism to the region. They are encouraging a county to stay committed to the effort.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A planned expo space in Northwest Iowa is intended to bring more events, farm and tractor shows to the community. Woodbury County is talking about reconsidering its financial commitment. 

Vaping360 via flickr creative commons / http://vaping360.com/cbd-oil-cannabidiol-hemp-oil/

The city of Cedar Rapids is still hoping to land a medical marijuana production center. That’s after state regulators passed over Iowa's second-largest city for a dispensary earlier this year. 

Mike Fritcher via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikefritcherphotography/28345182261/in/photolist-YaC8mq-6Kpc5g-iZdW55-J8XkmS-axeGbk-26QwzgE-JKtZ1s-cZGHow-cZGHvu-P51BXw-Pcu4pu-NhAr6x-NZebRo-BJjbh-4MzPnm-JF4FM-4NigoN-QmtcLo-HzGfZK-FC9jEG-G2sQzj-Fb15fq-FFkzTh-FcS3jf-stNvQ-JYi

Federal officials have selected 62 Iowa communities  for a new Opportunity Zone program. The effort is meant to encourage investment in underserved areas. But Iowa officials say they're still waiting for more details on how the program will actually work.

It’s a common story: Ambitious kids move from small towns to larger cities, never to look back. When their parents die, the family wealth that’s been built over generations through farming, ranching or agriculture-related businesses often follows the kids, draining the economic lifeblood from those rural communities.

The largest generational transfer of wealth in modern times is expected to happen in the next 10 years and rural foundations in states like Iowa and Nebraska are working hard to retain at least a bit of those hundreds of millions of dollars. 

Rob Dillard / Iowa Public Radio

Houses on the near east side of Des Moines, within sight of the Capitol dome, are among the city’s oldest. They are also among the most in disrepair. Some changes are afoot to freshen the look of three low-income neighborhoods.

Stacie Phillips works amidst a whir of construction activity in the shell of a house built in 1907 from a kit popular at the time.

“It’s a wonderful old house with the original trim, the conference ceilings," she says. "It has the original, beautiful swing-out casement windows we have rehabbed. Just a beautiful plan.”

Jean Poland Photography / Mason City Chamber of Commerce

A forum is scheduled for Saturday morning at Mason City High School to discuss two measures on its November ballot that total up to $32 million in bonds that would support several development projects.

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