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Tag Archives: Black Hawk County

Cedar Valley Honored at Iowa Tourism Conference

The following was submitted by our Affiliate agencies, the Waterloo Convention and Visitors Bureau and Cedar Falls Tourism. These organizations in collaboration as Cedar Valley Tourism, and with the Alliance & Chamber to promote and maintain high-quality amenities that benefit visitors and residents alike.

Representatives from the Grout Museum District and Cedar Falls Community Main Street were honored at the Iowa Tourism Conference, held in Davenport.

Downtown Cedar Falls was honored as the state’s Outstanding Retail Experience and the Grout Museum’s Iowa Veterans Museum was honored as Iowa’s Outstanding Attraction and for Outstanding Marketing Collaboration.

Distinct features leading to the Main Street award include friendly store owners serving up memorable experiences from 30+ unique shops and boutiques and 20+ bars, cafes and restaurants. The charm of the area, endless events and creative strategies employed the Community Main Street to position the district as a great get away destination were also noted.

The Grout Museum District’s 365 & Counting: Iowans in the Vietnam War exhibit enabled the Grout to capture the Attraction of the Year Award for the second time in five years. The Outstanding Marketing Collaboration was awarded for the partnership that was developed between the Grout and the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier for their Vietnam Veteran’s Profile features. The Grout provided content to reporters from the Voices of Iowa interview collection and the Courier featured 50 area Vietnam veterans, one each day, during the fall of 2015,  within the duration of the 365 & Counting: Iowans in the Vietnam War exhibit. The features helped shine a light on the stories of the men and women who proudly served our county during one of the most controversial wars in history and also helped spread awareness about a powerful exhibit that educated the public and helped heal those who lived through it 50 years ago.

Tourism is an $8 billion industry in Iowa, employing 67,400 people statewide and generating more than $466.7 million in state taxes.  In Black Hawk County alone, visitors spent $351.7 million dollars.

 

cvtourism

Keith Rahe, Travel Federation of Iowa; Carol Lilly,  and Jessica Palmer, Cedar Falls Main Street; Kim Manning, Cedar Falls Tourism and Visitors Bureau; Shawna Lode, Iowa Tourism Office.

SBA Offers Disaster Assistance to Iowa Businesses and Residents

SBA Offers Disaster Assistance to Iowa Businesses and Residents Affected by the Severe Weather and Flooding

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Low-interest federal disaster loans are available to Iowa businesses and residents affected by the severe weather and flooding that occurred Sept. 21 – Oct. 3, 2016, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet announced today. SBA acted under its own authority to declare a disaster in response to a request SBA received from Gov. Terry E. Branstad on Oct. 6, 2016.

The disaster declaration makes SBA assistance available in Black Hawk, Bremer, Butler, Cerro Gordo, Chickasaw, Floyd, Franklin, Grundy and Hardin counties.

“SBA is strongly committed to providing Iowa with the most effective and customer-focused response possible, and we will be there to provide access to federal disaster loans to help finance recovery for businesses and residents affected by the disaster,” said Contreras-Sweet. “Getting our businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA.”

“Low-interest federal disaster loans are available to businesses of all sizes, most private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters whose property was damaged or destroyed by this disaster,” said SBA’s Iowa District Director Jayne Armstrong. “Beginning at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 12, SBA representatives will be on hand at the following Disaster Loan Outreach Center to answer questions about SBA’s disaster loan program, explain the application process and help each individual complete their application,” Armstrong continued. The center will be open on the days and times indicated below. No appointment is necessary.

BUTLER COUNTY

SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Center

North Butler Elementary School – Media Center

210 W South St.

Greene, IA  50636

Opens 12 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 12

Mondays – Fridays, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Center closes 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25

Businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. SBA can also lend additional funds to businesses and homeowners to help with the cost of improvements to protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of any size, SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. EIDL assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any property damage.

Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

Interest rates can be as low as 4 percent for businesses, 2.625 percent for private nonprofit organizations and 1.563 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Disaster loan information and application forms are also available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling (800) 659-2955 or emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call (800) 877-8339. For more disaster assistance information or to download applications, visit https://www.sba.gov/disaster. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX  76155.

The filing deadline to apply for property damage is Dec. 12, 2016. The deadline to apply for economic injury is July 11, 2017.

Broadband Access Topic of Summit

Broadband Access Topic of Summit 

In June, Alliance & Chamber Director of Business Services, Nate Clayberg attended the annual Connect Iowa Broadband Summit.  The conference was attended by community and school administrators, economic developers, communications industry executives, representatives from John Deere and Gov. Terry Branstad.

Data was presented at the conference that shows the main barriers for broadband adoption by Iowans are perceived lack of relevance, cost, and digital literacy.  In the survey 31% of those surveyed did not see relevance to being connected by broadband, and a third of those were rural residents of the state.  Cost was most relevant to low income families with children, and the minority population saw digital literacy as their biggest barrier to adopting broadband access. It was noted that 113,000 school-age children in Iowa still do not have broadband access at home.

John Deere Manager of Spectrum Advocacy Mark Lewellen gave the keynote presentation at the conference to show the importance of wireless broadband networks expansion in rural areas for the next level of farming in the U.S.  John Deere equipment currently comes with data modems installed as standard equipment, but he notes that feature is not as valuable if it cannot connect to a network.  He said with the growing demand for more food, fuel and feed to support a growing global population, efficiencies in agriculture production are a must to support this demand.  Deere’s FarmSight technology system is being designed to help farmers become more productive and profitable with precision agriculture techniques, but connecting to mobile broadband is key to making the system run effectively for their customers.  Watch “The Future of Farming is in Sight” 

The increased broadband demand in our rural areas, especially mobile access, will be a great driver to help our rural areas sustain and possibly grow population and businesses that require digital connection to the world for business and personal access.  This plays especially well for the rural school districts, many of which are offering one to one digital learning with tablets and laptops for students to use at school and at home.  Howard-Winneshiek School District Superintendent John Carver presented to the conference on how the school is using technology to connect across their 462 square mile district, the second largest in the state.  But he faces challenges in his smaller rural communities that have limited access for not only their school buildings but the homes of their students as well.  It makes it challenging for students to complete assignments with a weaker broadband infrastructure in those areas. Carver discussed a couple interesting requests he has to the state education department in regards to their one to one digital access. Can they eliminate snow days by having teachers connect with students on those days that personnel and pupils cannot make it to their school buildings? And why is there a state law against mobile broadband hotspots on school buses? A feature that would help Howard-Winn students that spend time on buses commuting from home to school. He is awaiting a response to these questions as it relates to an ever changing digital world.

  • The Cedar Valley is leading the way in broad accessibility and acceptance. In February of 2014, Governor Branstad recognized Black Hawk County as the fourth community to become a Certified Connected Community in the state and 20th in the nation.
  • In May of 2014 Cedar Falls Utilities (CFU) announced 1-Gig service to every home and every business in the city making Cedar Falls Iowa’s first ‘Gigabit City.’ Mediacom also provides gigabit fiber accessible to the entire Cedar Valley Region.
  •  Learn more at  www.connectiowa.org

The Alliance & Chamber encourages voters to say “Yes” on Tuesday, November 5, 2013.

RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

 

The Board of Directors of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber encourage the voters of Black Hawk County communities to renew  the one-cent Local Option Sales Tax on the ballot on Tuesday, November 5th.

 

Since 1991, the communities of Black Hawk County, with voter approval, have collected a one percent sales and service tax on qualified purchases. Waterloo and Cedar Falls have consistently used the revenues from this sales tax for the construction and repair of streets. Both cities have again pledged to use the revenues in a similar manner if the tax is reauthorized. Other cities have also used the revenues for key attributes, while others have reduced property tax burdens.

 

The sales tax has produced notable results. For instance, in Cedar Falls and Waterloo alone, since the tax program’s implementation, hundreds of miles of streets have been reconstructed, overlaid, or seal-coated; and many railroad crossings have been replaced.

 

The sales tax is imposed by local governments on goods and services sold within Black Hawk County. Out-of-county purchases generate an estimated 35% of the tax revenue.

 

The Alliance & Chamber encourages government at all levels to monitor operations continuously to discover ways to reduce property tax, sales and service tax, and other fees that are ostensibly taxes imposed on business and residents. However, we recognize that the revenues from this sales and service tax are used for key infrastructure for economic growth and a satisfactory quality of life, and there are established oversight committees established to review the proposed uses of the tax revenue.

 

Therefore, the Board of Directors of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber endorses the renewal of the one-cent Local Option Sales and Service Tax in Black Hawk County. The Alliance & Chamber encourages voters to say “Yes” on Tuesday, November 5, 2013.

Approved by the Board of Directors, during its regular meeting on October 1, 2013.

___________________________

Steven J. Dust

CEO

 

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber Launches New Data Tool Resource

As part of its portfolio of business services, the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, in partnership with Far Reach of Cedar Falls, introduces the Cedar Valley Data Portal.

Through the Cedar Valley Data Portal website, statistics and data about the Cedar Valley, from a multitude of sources, is collected and routinely updated in one convenient location. Data available on the site includes general demographic, economic, social, and housing statistics along with a variety of additional information regarding Cedar Valley cities, seven county economic area and the state of Iowa. The site offers data comparisons through easy to create, customizable reports.

As an economic development organization, the Alliance & Chamber is the primary agent for the demographic information on the entire Cedar Valley region. It is a priority of the Alliance & Chamber to distribute this information and business intelligence in the most efficient and effective way possible. The information provided in the data portal presents the Cedar Valley as one economic region, positioning the region competitively for new jobs and investment. Site selectors from outside the region will especially appreciate the comprehensive economic and talent information available through the data portal.

“ Most companies and site selection influencers are conducting community data and property searches 24/7 and look to organizations like the Alliance & Chamber as a source.   If this information isn’t readily available on our web site, we risk a lost opportunity,”notes Alliance & Chamber Economic Development Marketing Director, Lisa Rivera Skubal. “Companies and site selection influencers don’t call economic developers until they have already made a short list of potential sites.  This interactive data portal complements our available property data base, further setting us apart.”

The data portal is also an avenue to support retail and service business with access to current information for planning.

Project History

A survey to Alliance & Chamber partner organizations such as utility partners, the Iowa Economic Development Authority, and the Cedar Valley Regional Partners showed need for such a system. From there, Far Reach developed the system for the Alliance & Chamber.

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is responsible for updating the information provided on the data portal. Alliance & Chamber staff  use national reporting sources, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Census Bureau, Council for Community and Economic Research and Iowa Workforce Development to aggregate data. Far Reach Technologies will continue to providing reporting and analytics to guide the growth and enhancement of the site.

“The Alliance & Chamber works with these stats every day. The ability to collect, update, and distribute this kind of comprehensive business intelligence is bedrock to what our organization does. This is not only a value added benefit to our investors, the Cedar Valley Data Portal is a critical resource for attracting new business and talent to the Cedar Valley,” comments Steve Dust, CEO of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber.

The Cedar Valley Data Portal can be found by going to www.cedarvalleyalliance.com,  http://data.cedarvalleyalliance.com/DataPortal.aspx. For more information on the Cedar Valley Data Portal and other information services provided by the Alliance & Chamber, contact Taylor King at tking@cedarvalleyalliance.com or 319-232-1156. Far Reach can be found on the web at www.farreachinc.com.

 

Area jobless rate 4.7 percent in May

Economic strength of Cedar Valley of Iowa shows in unemployment stats-but must re-skill/attract talent to fill demand. Here are some highlights from the Courier’s recent article.
DES MOINES — Unemployment in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls metropolitan area nudged downward one-tenth of a point from April to May, to 4.7 percent, according to Iowa Workforce Development.
Statewide, Iowa had the seventh-lowest unemployment rate in the nation in May, at 5.1 percent. That was unchanged from the April figure but down 15 percent from the 6 percent in May 2011.
Joblessness in the city of Waterloo was 5.8 percent in May, compared to 6.1 percent in April.
Across Black Hawk County, the May unemployment rate was 4.9 percent, compared to 5.1 in April and 5.7 in May 2011.
By JIM OFFNER, jim.offner@wcfcourier.comwcfcourier.com | Posted: Wednesday, June 20, 2012 9:00 pm

Read More: http://wcfcourier.com/business/local/area-jobless-rate-percent-in-may/article_0a5f7f75-9be5-5201-9728-272de8164091.html#ixzz1yuLLgJVE

Be part of something greater - The Cedar Valley of Iowa

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is a regional economic community development corporation working to increase economic vitality and wealth in the Waterloo / Cedar Falls area and surrounding economic region. The Alliance & Chamber has approximately 800 members that represents over 40,000 employees