The Marshalltown City Council voted to accept $2 million in grant funding on Monday night, awarded by the Iowa Economic Development Authority as part of the Destination Iowa Creative Placemaking Grant in for projects in the Linn Creek District. This exciting effort was made possible through a collaboration between the City of Marshalltown, Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce, Arts & Culture Alliance and Marshalltown Arts & Civic Center.
Destination Iowa was a $100 million investment, available through the federal American Recue Plan Act, to bolster the quality of life in Iowa’s communities and attract visitors and new residents to the state. Specifically, the Creative Placemaking category is about creating attractive and memorable places for people to live and work by developing transformational projects that leverage local community assets to improve the experience for visitors and residents of the area.
Executive Director of the Arts & Culture Alliance, Amber Danielson, shared “the projects this funding will support directly ties to the recently adopted Arts & Culture Master Plan. We know that cities that weave arts and culture into the fabric of daily life become a destination for visitors, drive economic prosperity and become regional focal points. But most importantly, they bloom into a springboard of imagination and a creative home for their own residents.”
The development of the Linn Creek District has been on Marshalltown’s radar for decades. It is a continuously developing destination, centrally located in our community along the Linn Creek corridor, just south of our historic downtown. In 2007, community planning efforts resulted in Marshalltown’s vision plan, IMAGINE, which included the Linn Creek District as one of the seven big ideas. The vision for the district included transforming the Linn Creek banks into gathering places for events, sports and recreation opportunities, an interactive museum, and improvements to the playhouse.
Since the development of the vision plan, many of these projects have come to fruition. Most recently, the district has seen new housing development, expanded park areas, reinvigorated entertainment businesses, reimagined cultural spaces and expanded commercial operations. The development in this district, with a focus on creative placemaking, will tie together cultural, recreational and entertainment opportunities, while conveniently connecting our community to this centrally located asset. The exciting projects included in this funding opportunity is the development of the Iowa River’s Edge Trailhead and bridge connection, Water Plaza and renovations to the Martha-Ellen Tye Playhouse.
President and CEO of the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce, John Hall, stated, “we couldn’t be more pleased of the support from IEDA and the Governor’s Office for our Destination Iowa Projects. Advancing these efforts will continue support our efforts to recruit and retain folks in our community by providing the necessary quality of place amenities that so many families and others are looking for in a place to call home.”
Locally, we can point to the 13th Street District as an example of successful creative placemaking. The 13th Street District showcases a grassroots effort to enhance a space with a creative approach to foster economic development, recreation opportunities and community pride. A creative approach on the development in this area has led to a thriving and unique experience in our community, filled with people and vibrancy on a daily basis. It is now home to Iowa’s Best Burger, Iowa’s first outdoor lit futsal courts, our community’s largest public art installation, a one-of-a-kind natural playscape, an outdoor event space and so much more. This is creative placemaking at its best and it is a successful model ready to be adopted in other spaces throughout our community.
“It is exciting to see the hard work across multiple parties finally payoff as we look to receive the funds for the Destination Iowa grant at our upcoming council meeting. This speaks to the very reason we adopted the Arts & Culture Master plan and continue to partner with the community as we build out the Linn Creek Corridor. I look forward to positive level of engagement across the new Marshall County supervisors, Arts & Culture Alliance, Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce and others as we continue the great growth we’ve already started to experience”, shared City Council Member, Gabe Isom.