Howard County

Howard County

Located along the Upper Iowa River in Northeast Iowa, less than an hour from the Mississippi River is Howard County, Iowa. Visit the boyhood home and farm of Dr. Norman Borlaug and stop in at the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Throughout the year visitors and residents alike are able to canoe the Upper Iowa River, explore Lake Hendricks in Riceville and the Nature Center at Vernon Springs; miles of bike trails, some of the best snowmobiling and cross country ski trails in the state, off-road trails and hiking in the area.  Visit the largest fitness center in the region (indoor pool, track and basketball court, hot tub, weights), dirt track racing, golf courses, excellent hunting and fishing areas. Every city has a summer festival, a Farmers Market and we all celebrate Snowfest in January.

Towns include Chester, Cresco (the county seat), Elma, Lime Springs, Protivin and Riceville.

Howard County Business and Tourism

Here in Howard County, we understand that business and industry is the livelihood of any economy, which is why we make it easier for businesses to succeed. With lower business costs, construction ready sites, an expanding community with unquestionable growth potential, a skilled workforce, and industry initiatives designed to stimulate growth, innovation and profits, we are here to develop and grow new and existing businesses, promote community involvement, encourage business alliances, promote and increase tourism.  

Howard County Business & Tourism (HCBT) is an umbrella organization representing Howard County Economic Development, Cresco Area Chamber of Commerce, Howard County Tourism, and the Cresco Industrial Development Corporation. The offices of HCBT are housed within the Cresco Welcome Center and are also home to the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame.

For more information, click below.

News Headlines

UERPC July Newsletter

Posted: Tue, July 21, 2015

Some of the headlines you can read about this month:

  • First Time Homebuyer Funding Available
  • Board Member Spotlight-Les Askelson
  • Protect Iowa Habitat-Observe Mowing Restrictions
  • UERPC Employees Attend Workshop
  • Oelwein IRP
  • SRTS Annual Report Now Available
... [ Read More ]

Housing Program Meeting Being Held

Posted: Wed, May 6, 2015

Housing Program Meeting Being Held
Tuesday, May 19th at 11:00 a.m.
Oelwein Chamber and Area Development
25 West Charles, Oelwein, IA

Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission (UERPC) is hosting a meeting regarding housing programs that are available in Northeast Iowa.  Guest speakers include Jeremy Babcock and Steve Benne with Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), Jerry Floyd and Rita Eble from the Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) and Kathy Pfiffner from USDA.

Hot Topics include:

  • IEDA Workforce Housing Tax Incentive Program (WHTIP) is to provide financial incentives for the development of housing.
  • IEDA Owner Occupied Rehabilitation to assist with rehabilitation assistance for low-to moderate income homeowners in their community.
  • IFA First Time Homebuyer or Qualified Veteran program to assist with down payment and rehabilitation assistance.
  • USDA-Repair and Rehabilitation Program to assist applicants with 1% loans and those 62 and older with grants for homeowner rehabilitation.
  • USDA Direct and Guaranteed loan programs for help in purchasing homes.
  • USDA Multi-Family Housing to assist with rental assistance in rural development financed apartments.
  • UERPC Housing Trust Fund Programs-Funding available to assist homeowners and landlords with rehabilitation assistance.
  • UERPC-Housing Choice Voucher program provides rental assistance to those under 50% of HUD’s income guidelines.


This meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 11:00 A.M. at the Oelwein Chamber and Area Development office at 25 West Charles Street, in Oelwein.  If you are interested in attending this meeting or would like more information please contact Mary Huinker at 563-864-7551 ext. 111 or by emailing Lori Brockway at lbrockway@uerpc.org.

... [ Read More ]

FREE Informational Session on Financing Sources for Businesses

Posted: Fri, May 1, 2015

Clayton County Development Group in Elkader the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in Cedar Rapids and Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission in Decorah are holding an informational session on various sources of financing for start-up & existing businesses.  SBA, a federal government agency devoted to assisting small & medium-sized businesses, will have a representative discussing business loan options, and Clayton County Development Group and Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission will have a representative discussing RLF funds available for businesses.  The 1-1/2 hour session, including questions & answers, will take place on Tuesday, May 12th starting @ 5:30 PM at Clayton County Office Building at 600 Gunder Rd. in Elkader, Iowa.  Register today to attend contact Darla Kelchen at 563-245-2201.

WHAT:       Free informational session on sources of money for businesses
WHO:        New/start-up and existing business owners/managers
WHEN:      Tuesday, May 12th, 2015 starting @ 5:30PM & wrapping up by 7PM
WHERE:    Clayton County Office Building 600 Gunder Rd. Elkader
COST:        Free

Join Clayton County Development, Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission and SBA to learn more about the options available for financing your business.  Also, discussed briefly will be government contracting opportunities and free counseling along with low cost training resources available for businesses.  Get your questions answered.  Register by contacting Darla at the CCDG office at 563-245-2201.

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Office Car For Sale

Posted: Mon, April 27, 2015

UERPC is seeking car bids for a 2007 Malibu, LS V6 package, 141,993 highway miles, grey, four-door, cloth interior, very clean. Minimum bid is $2,400.

Please submit sealed bids to Executive Director, Rachelle Howe, UERPC, 325 Washington Street, Decorah, IA  52101.  Bids will be opened at 12:00 Noon on May 7th. You do not need to be present at opening of bids.

... [ Read More ]
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