"Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission has been a great partner with USDA Rural Development in helping rural businesses and communities for the past 20 years that I have been working in NE Iowa. By working together we have been able to successfully find different programs and funding to benefit organizations that needed assistance.
Working with Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission, USDA Rural Development has funded the Intermediary Relending Program that created a revolving loan fund for NE Iowa, which provides essential gap financing and credit to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Through this partnership, both UERPC and USDA have found ways to create employment that is essential to maintain the high quality of life in the rural communities in this corner of the state."
Douglas E. Moss, Area Director
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development
"Upper Explorerland is a valuable resource and partner for our communities. I experienced first hand their professionalism when UERPC led and facilitated the hazard mitigation planning for communities in Winneshiek County. They brought various stakeholders to the table, listened to all input, and helped to synthesize an appropriate plan. It was worth the time working side by side with UERPC.
Recently, I attended the Food & Fitness Initiative event for NE Iowa and UERPC was well represented. Their commitment to serve our communities is demonstrated through words and actions. Their willingness to be a partner allows us to tap their expertise. Whenever I am invited to participate in an UERPC sponsored event, I give it serious consideration given their track record of service and partnership."
Liang Chee Wee, Ph.D., President
Northeast Iowa Community College
"The Howard County Board of Supervisors would like to show our appreciation to the Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission for all the wonderful work that this organization has done for our County. UERPC works very well in providing various services to all of Howard County and to the Cities within our county including Hazard Mitigation, Smart Planning, and other programs. Funds for Housing Rehabilitation and Single Family New Construction were also awarded thru UERPC.
UERPC is also working with Howard County in helping to obtain a CDBG Grant to help us to redo a lagoon for the Howard County Residential Care Facility. UERPC has already help this Residential Care Facility to obtain a CDBG Grant in order to proceed in the expansion of the Alzheimer's Unit. This expansion will benefit all of Howard County but especially the folks that need this type of care.
We as a Board Thank Upper Explorerland Regional Planning for all of their great work and look forward to working with this fine organization for years to come."
Adolph Mick Gamez, Former 1st District Supervisor
Don Burnikel, 2nd District Supervisor
Jan McGovern, 3rd District Supervisor
"I value our partnership with Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission. With their assistance, ISU Extension and Outreach in Winneshiek County received a USDA Rural Development Rural Business Enterprise Grant for $90,000. ISU Extension is matching the USDA funds to hire a Food Value Chain Coordinator to fill some of gaps in technical assistance and coordination needed to help farmers develop new products, identify new partners and markets, and create jobs in northeast Iowa.
They have also helped me as the coordinator for the Northeast Iowa Food & Farm Coalition and regional educator with ISU Extension and Outreach write several proposals to help farmers develop new products, identify new partners and markets, and create jobs in northeast Iowa. Their staff is professional and has amazing connections to partners in the tri-state area. UERPC is an important part of our team."
ISU Extension and Outreach Regional Program and Communications Coordinator
"The Iowa Economic Development Authority works very closely with Iowa's Councils of Governments in administering many different federal grants. It has been a pleasure working with UERPC's personnel on Community Development Block Grant projects. The UERPC staff are very eager and conscientious of fulfilling their professional responsibilities administering federal grants."
Benton Quade, Project Manager
Iowa Economic Development Authority
"The staff support provided by UERPC for our local grant projects has assisted us in making sure that our grant reporting is done correctly and in a timely fashion. The staff is knowledgeable and very professional in dealing with all aspects of community redevelopment projects. We are very lucky to have the UERPC staff here in Northeast Iowa."
Robin Bostrom, Program Director
Main Street West Union
"The City of West Union has had the opportunity to work with Upper Explorerland on many projects. The Downtown Streetscape Pilot Project required coordination from many federal, state and local agencies and Upper Explorerland was the catalyst in pulling together everyone involved. From environmental review to grant administration, Upper Explorerland has been a significant driving force in our success with this innovative and challenging project. Their level of expertise in a variety of areas goes unmatched. The team at UERPC can make projects that seem "out of reach" possible."
Robert E. Vagts, City Administrator
City of West Union, Iowa
"I would like to say a special thank you to the staff at UERPC. The help they have given the city with their SRF filing, well grant application and housing rehabilitation program has been great. It has been so nice having this resource with the expertise and knowledge they have, to help with all of these processes and to help make the projects run so smoothly."
Tammy Humble, City Administrator
City of Luana, Iowa
"Thank you Shelly and everyone at Upper Explorerland for your hard work in developing the RCDI application and then facing those gruesome federal forms and submission. Your partnership is highly valued!"
In the spirit of NE Iowa service,
M. J. Smith, Director of Affiliate Foundations
Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque
"I don't know what I would do if you guys weren't in my life. I wouldn't be able to make it. HUD is very helpful. I appreciate everything you guys have done for me. Thanks a lot."
HUD Section 8 Program Recipient
"I truly would like to thank you for your presentation and delivery of the information for last night's meeting. I truly am grateful we had the chance as a group of diverse community members to interact, discuss and then come together as a general coalition in the end. Both of you have shown unwavering support and I have leaned on you as pillars in this vision for Calmar that we are building. We are in your (Upper Explorerland's) debt and we hope to be dedicated partners as we go into the future. Again, thank you!"
Corey Meyer, Mayor of Calmar
UERPC and staff have completed a wonderful Comprehensive Planning Project for the community of Hawkeye, Iowa. They have taken a small town dream to better themselves for the future and made it a reality! From the very beginning UERPC approached the project with a positive and "can do" attitude. Always involving the steering committee and community with decision making and "ownership" of their future.
I was always impressed with UERPC's preparation and attention to detail, never once did we feel like we were too small to matter. As we progressed we realized that we may have been visualizing our own limitations, Karla Organist and staff helped us in breaking our barriers and to really use our abilities and resources to put together a plan that will benefit our community for generations.
Mark Creery, Vision Hawkeye Member
The FruitGuys Community Fund offers funding to support sustainability projects for small to mid-size farms. A primary goal of the fund is to help farms and orchards operate more sustainably and to promote advocacy that, over the long term, creates a more sustainable food system and healthier planet. Applications must be received by February 16, 2015.
The Iowa Safe Routes to School meeting will take place on January 24, 2014 from 8:30-10:00 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. We will have two guest speakers and the theme of our meeting will focus on the best practices for building walking school bus programs.
Our first speakers, Pam Hoogerwerf, Director for Community Outreach and Injury Prevention University of Iowa Children’s Hospital and Dr. Cara Hamann, a postdoc and injury epidemiologist for the Injury Prevention Research Center at the University of Iowa College of Public Health. Pam and Dr. Hamann will discuss their upcoming project, Pedal PORTAL pilot, a naturalistic bicycling study conducted in Iowa that utilized GPS-enabled helmet cameras to capture the bicycling experience of children and adults. Results presented will include descriptions of typical riding patterns, differences between adults and children, and rates of errors, near crashes, and crashes.
Ashley Christensen serves as the Regional Safe Routes to School Coordinator for Northeast Iowa and is dedicated to increasing physical activity levels among youth by enabling and encouraging students to safely walk and bicycle to and from school and in daily life. Ashley will review her guide on 10 Steps to Creating a Rural, Regional Safe Routes to School Program.
During the last part of our meeting we will be discussing Walking School Buses: Best Practices. We hope to have Walking School Bus Coordinators from around the state come to share their best practices. This is a great networking opportunity for individuals and communities to share their stories with successes and hurdles. Come sit with us and let's compare our notes on our sustainable Walking School Bus Programs.
Let’s explore our mutual mission by expanding the importance of Safe Routes to School. This meeting is a fantastic opportunity to network while growing lasting partnerships and to change the state of Iowa one safe route at a time.
For more information on the Iowa Safe Routes to School program and to register for this free meeting, please visit http://iowasaferoutes.org/ or contact Alana Croco (email@example.com).
Thanks to generous support from the Allamakee County Community Foundation (ACCF) and the Depot Outlet, the 2015 Bike Rack Challenge will again take place this coming spring!
The Bike Rack Challenge, a project organized by UERPC’s Northeast Iowa Safe Routes to School Program and the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative, encourages biking to school and other community destinations through youth creativity, skill and leadership. Bike racks ultimately benefit the health of individuals, communities and the environment by providing a secure bike parking location, which helps people get around better by bike.
Each spring, high school industrial technology classes are challenged to construct a usable bike rack for their school or other community location using as much recycled material as possible. Classes have from January until May to design and construct their bike rack.
Again, many thanks to the ACCF and the Depot Outlet for supporting this fun, challenging and rewarding project for students and for supporting community wellness and community betterment for years to come!
Northeast Iowa schools can still sign up for the Bike Rack Challenge! Click below to learn more or contact Ashley Christensen: 563-382-6171 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some of the headlines you can read about this month: