Central Iowa missed out on $470K of no-match federal pandemic grants because the area lacks a regional planning body, according to the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).
The proposed district would include Polk, Warren, Story, Jasper, Dallas, Boone and Marion counties.
Why it matters: Without one, tackling future disaster recoveries and business expansions could become more challenging.
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By the numbers: Iowa areas with EDDs averaged $25 per person in federal grants from Jan. 2018 through Jan. 2021, compared to $4 per person in central Iowa, according to MPO's analysis.
How it works: By banding together, counties across a certain geographic area can pool resources and coordinate economic development planning.
EDDs can often get a head start in grant application processes because they're able to quickly form plans that demonstrate how projects meet regional needs.
In order to get the formal EDD designation, they'd need approval from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
Of note: Local governments would need to contribute a combined total of $70K a year to a central Iowa district to cover administrative costs, the MPO estimates.
What's next: Supervisors in the seven counties have already unanimously passed resolutions in support of creating a district. A nonprofit being made to oversee the EDD will request the formal designation in early September.
The goal is to launch the district early next year.
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