Employee Spotlight
Karen Cooper

We welcome Karen Cooper as UERPC's new Finance Manager & Dept. Head. Karen was formerly a Business Services Director for the past 16 years at Crawford County Opportunity Center, Inc. in Prairie du Chien, WI.  She enjoys spending time with family and friends, camping, boating and the beautiful outdoors of NE Iowa.  Karen was married to Kevin for 27 years before he passed away suddenly April 6, 2015.  She has 3 children, Alyssa 27, a nurse who reside in Des Moines; Leah 25, who recently got married, is a speech pathologist and resides in West Des Moines; and, Garrett 24, that owns a landscaping business in Waukon.   

The Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative (FFI) was recently featured in the winter edition of Inspired Magazine. UERPC is one of FFI’s core partners and leads the initiative’s Active Living/Safe Routes to School efforts. The homegrown collaborative is celebrating a decade of making the healthy choice the easy choice for area kids and adults alike. Check out the article (starts on page 50) at http://iloveinspired.com/.  
Each year in the spirit of holiday cheer, UERPC employees pick a local cause to support together. This holiday season, employees collected funds to support our troops.
State Housing Trust Fund Grants to Spur Affordable Housing
The Iowa Finance Authority Board of Directors today approved a total of more than $6.2 million in grants to 25 Local Housing Trust Funds to support local affordable housing initiatives which will assist 2,326 Iowa families. The funding is provided from the State Housing Trust Fund’s Local Housing Trust Fund program.
The grant funds will be used for initiatives such as preserving aging housing stock, subsidizing local down payment assistance programs, providing low-interest loans or grants to assist Iowans in home rehabilitation, financing construction of new single-family housing for low-income Iowans and supporting housing for persons with disabilities and homeless assistance programs.
The State Housing Trust Fund helps ensure decent, safe and affordable housing for Iowans through two programs. The Local Housing Trust Fund Program receives at least 60 percent of the State Housing Trust Fund allocation to provide grants for organizations certified by the Iowa Finance Authority as a Local Housing Trust Fund. The remaining funding goes to the Project-Based Housing Program, which aids in the development of affordable single-family and multifamily housing. The Iowa Finance Authority administers both programs and provides technical assistance to housing-related organizations.

Fayette County Local Housing Trust Fund - $49,012
  • Area served: Fayette County
Northeast Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund - $222,543
  • Area served: Allamakee, Clayton, Howard and Winneshiek Counties
December 2016

Wellmark Foundation Awarding Grants

“All of these communities and organizations are committed to improving the health and well-being of their citizens,” said Stephanie Perry, The Wellmark Foundation manager. “These grants fund projects that will have a community-wide impact now and for future generations.”  The 30 awarded projects, out of 79 submissions, were chosen because they focused on providing longer-term opportunities to make community members more active or improve access to healthy foods. Four community projects from UERPC’s service area were recipients of this year’s grant awards, including West Union’s pedestrian project, which UERPC’s Safe Routes to School program has been heavily involved with:
$10,000    Pedestrian Ramp Improvements, West Union
$10,000    Harpers Ferry Family Splash Zones, Harpers Ferry
$10,000    Monona City Park Trailhead, Monona
$10,000    Supporting and Sheltering the Farmers Market, Riceville

The Wellmark Foundation recently awarded 30 Community Kickstarter grants totaling $277,654 for initiatives intending to make Iowa communities more active or improve access to healthy foods.  

To learn more about these projects or The Wellmark Foundation, visit https://www.wellmark.com/foundation/.


Beat the Blues Winter
Marathon Challenge

UERPC, in partnership with the Winneshiek County Conservation Board and the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative, is again hosting the “Beat the Blues Winter Marathon Challenge” throughout the region this winter. Participants of all ages are challenged to complete a full marathon (or more!)—26 miles—between December 10th and February 12th. Run, walk, ski, snowshoe or bike 26 miles outdoors at your own pace, when it works for you. Or play outside for 30 minutes to equal one mile. A fun “Final Mile Party” is planned for the end of the challenge and those completing one or more marathons will have a chance to win some great prizes donated by area businesses. To get started, visit http://www.winneshiekwild.com/.  

Oelwein Housing Study Completed
The City of Oelwein’s housing study was completed in November, and the city is ready to move forward to make improvements. The task force set their highest priority on renovation and demolition of older housing in poor condition with low assessed values. The city seeks to coordinate demolition plans to tear down and rebuild several parcels in the same vicinity at the same time to maximize efficiency and re-development potential. The city is also working to strengthen property maintenance and aesthetic standards for housing.

Clayton County Housing Study Wrapping Up
The Clayton County housing study is almost completed, and the county has identified several actions to address housing challenges facing communities. The cities of Edgewood, Elkader, Garnavillo, Guttenberg, Marquette, McGregor, Monona, Strawberry Point and Volga all participated in the housing study with data collection, task force input, and public open house meetings.
An income and affordability analysis compared Clayton County’s population with its housing stock. Clayton County has a large surplus of homes valued at $50,000 to $100,000, while the demand for homes valued at $100,00 to $200,00 far exceeds the available supply. The task force would like to encourage renovation of homes currently in the $50,000 to $100,000 range to move them up into the higher price ranges.
Senior housing was another priority for Clayton County, where more than 30% of householders who own their homes are over 65 years of age. Providing attractive, low-maintenance housing marketed to seniors as well as assisted living facilities could help open up some of the homes in the mid-price ranges for new residents.
Many cities are finding creative ways to encourage new home construction in their communities by developing incentive packages and marketing those incentives to potential developers.


The UERPC offices will be closed
Dec. 23 - Dec. 26 for Christmas.
And, also on January 2nd for the
New Year as we welcome in 2017!

UERPC Legislative Event
Thursday, January 5, 2017
9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.

Location to be determined
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