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BP gives presentation for CAT grant money

By JUDY SCHLESSELMAN

Belle Plaine officials went before the Vision Iowa Community Attractions and Tourism (CAT) Review Committee March 10 in their second bid for a $513,000 grant for the downtown revitalization project.

City Administrator Bill Daily made the presentation to the five-member board at its monthly meeting last Wednesday at the Science Center of Iowa in Des Moines.

“It went well,” Daily stated of his 10-minute presentation that will hopefully bring the city funding for signage, cultural and historical elements in the downtown area.

The review committee denied the city’s first try for a CAT grant last June.

A contingency of 15 Belle Plaine supporters joined Daily at the meeting. Among them were State Sen. Tim Kapucian, R-Keystone, Benton County Supervisor Ron Buch, Belle Plaine Mayor James Daily and city councilmen Marv DeRycke, Harold Ealy and Garrison Reekers. Representatives from Main Street Iowa, as well as several Belle Plaine Main Street committee members and representatives from RDG, the architectural firm that designed the downtown master plan, were also in attendance.

It will be at least a month before the city learns if its application will move on for further consideration.

“This is such a big piece of our project. We really need this. If we don’t get it, it’s going to be back to the drawing board,” Daily stated.

Belle Plaine is one of six communities vying for this round of CAT grant funding.  Other downtown revitalization projects hoping to win a piece of the pie include Kalona and West Union, which has plans for a green downtown project and a recreation foundation. Buffalo Center, Elma, Orange City and Hubbard also presented at last week’s meeting.

In other funding news related to Belle Plaine’s downtown revitalization project, Daily said the city would not pursue an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant for LED lighting in the area.

“We had to demonstrate the energy savings would cover the cost of the improvement during the life of the improvement. We could not demonstrate that big of a savings,” Daily said. The city worked with Alliant Energy, RDG and East Central Iowa Council of Governments in gathering data for the grant.

Daily said the city has not received word about its application for a $250,000 Brownfields grant to address a couple of dilapidated downtown buildings.

UPDATED March 16, 2010 11:50 AM

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