"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
Some of the headlines you can read about this month:
The American Heart Association of Iowa held their first Legislative Breakfast of 2016 on Wednesday, January 13th at the Iowa State Capitol focusing on the need for a state funded Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program. As a federally-funded program, SRTS provides the financial resources to repair sidewalks, hire crossing guards, and remove the barriers that discourage parents from allowing their students to walk to school. Because Iowa has received limited federal funds, the American Heart Association is encouraging the state legislature to invest $1.8 million to create a state-funded Safe Routes to School program.
Supporters and volunteers from across the state joined the American Heart Association at the Iowa State Capitol to talk with their lawmakers about why they support a state-funded SRTS program due to the health, safety and economic benefits it will provide for all Iowans, and especially children. Supporters were able to talk with approximately 50 Iowa legislators who were in attendance at the breakfast including Senator Liz Mathis, Representative Dave Heaton, Senator Mike Gronstal, Representative Linda Miller, Senator Janet Petersen and Representative Dave Maxwell, who is also a heart disease survivor.
One supporter who came to talk with legislators at the event was Ashley Christensen, Safe Routes to School Coordinator for Northeast Iowa. She talked about the health benefits saying, “Children today are not getting enough physical activity which leads to many health issues. And one of the best ways to create more opportunities for our children to be active is through supporting Safe Routes to School.”
There are safety and economic benefits, along with many others, that a SRTS program would provide as well. It would cut down on pedestrian accidents because in areas without sidewalks, children are twice as likely to be struck by a vehicle. And allowing school districts to cut even just one bus route would save a school district $37,000 per year, easing the financial burden on schools already struggling with budget cuts.
To learn more about Safe Routes to School in Iowa the public is encouraged to contact the American Heart Association’s Safe Routes to School Campaign Manager Carrie Mueller at Carrie.Mueller@heart.org or 515-414-3212 or visit www.HealthierIowa.com.
About the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association:
The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association are devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. The American Stroke Association is a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit www.heart.org.
Some of the headlines you can read about this month: