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Tag Archives: downtown



Through January 15, 2014, property owners can apply for a property tax credit on industrial, commercial and railroad classed parcels.

One credit is available for each qualified property unit. A property unit consists of contiguous parcels of the same classification that are owned by the same person and operated by that person for a common use and purpose.

A property owner need only fill out the application once as it will be applicable in subsequent years.  If a property owner misses the January 15, 2014 deadline they can apply in subsequent years.

Application must be filed with the city or county assessor where the property is located. Copies are available at your County Courthouses and online here.   http://co.black-hawk.ia.us/departme.nsf/F48EE0B3E331F78B86256704007A4926/163A0FD97DB5A7F286257C0D00686564?OpenDocument

The links above takes you to an online form and information provided by the Black Hawk County Assessor Tami McFarland. The contact information for assessors in other Cedar Valley counties is provided below. Simply change the name of the county in “Jurisdiction.”

Benton County Assessor
111 East 4th St, 2nd Floor
Vinton,  Iowa 52349

Black Hawk County Assessor
Room 209
316 East 5th Street
Waterloo, Iowa 50703

Bremer County Assessor
415 E. Bremer Avenue
Waverly, IA 50677


Buchanan County Assessor
P.O. Box 388
Independence, IA 50644-0388

Chickasaw County Assessor
8 East Prospect
New Hampton, IA 50659

Grundy County Assessor
706 G Avenue
Grundy Center IA 50638

Tama County Assessor
104 W. State Street, P.O. Box 91
Toledo, IA 52342

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber was part of an effective coalition that included the Iowa Chamber Alliance, Iowa Association of Business & Industry (ABI), Professional Developers of Iowa (PDI), and Iowa Taxpayers Association to achieve property tax reduction for all commercial and industrial property owners.



TechWorks proponents forge ahead

September 30, 2013 12:00 pm Editorial – Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier


That’s why proponents of the Cedar Valley TechWorks should not lose heart.

TechWorks, the agri-industrial research complex being developed on portions of John Deere’s former Westfield Avenue facilities, is now 10 years in the making. It was jointly proposed in 2003 by then-University of Northern Iowa president Robert Koob and Barry Shaffter, then general manager of Deere’s Waterloo operations.

Part of the project appears to have hit what proponents call a financial “speed bump.” An application for historic designation through the U.S. National Parks Service has been turned down. At stake is some $10 million in historic preservation tax credits toward the $50 million project.

Proponents are forging ahead.

Bryce Henderson, chief financial officer and chief operating officer with Davenport-based Financial District Properties, the project’s developer, said, “This decision was largely subjective, and we’re going back next week to present our case again,” he said last week.

Darn right. With all due respect to the Park Service, we don’t understand how preserving and enhancing a complex that was the industrial heart of Waterloo for most of the 20th century cannot have historic significance. We areapproaching the 100th anniversary of John Deere’s entry into Waterloo with the purchase of the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Co. in 1918,  which was located on that very spot.

Henderson said the project will continue, and that there are backup financing plans. “You never go into a redevelopment project like this without a Plan A, Plan B, Plan C and Plan D,” he said.

Developers have not given up on securing the historic designation for the Tech 2 building, which is scheduled to open in the winter of 2014 with a Radisson business-class hotel with a ground-floor restaurant, John Deere training facility, showroom and office space and a location for education programs of Hawkeye Community College.

“Part of our discussion was how to get started on the west end of the campus around the museum (Deere Tractor and Engine Museum, now under construction) and Tech 1 while we’re still putting all the pieces together for the Green project,” said Steve Dust, president and CEO of TechWorks. “It was important to understand that we continue to move ahead, even though this is a very important part of the project.”

We appreciate and applaud that undaunted approach. We would ask Park Service officials to consider the alternative. Longtime Cedar Valley residents have seen many industrial buildings fall victim to the wrecking ball, which subsequently resulted in aesthetic eyesores and environmental cleanup headaches.

The TechWorks project is a responsible, systematic re-use of a major industrial site in this city, preserving the site’s heritage with a look to future technologies. That’s a plan worth pursuing, and fighting for.



Lisa Rivera Skubal among members of Cedar Falls Community Main Street Board of Directors

Community Main Street Announces 2013-2014 Board

CEDAR FALLS, IOWA, June 19, 2013 – Cedar Falls Community Main Street has announced new Board of Directors members and the Executive Committee for 2013-2014.

Dawn Wilson and Pam Taylor are new members to the Community Main Street Board of Directors. Wilson and Taylor will serve on the board beginning July 1. On the 2013-2014 Executive Committee Ann Remmert will serve as President, Pam Taylor as President-Elect, Dave Deaver as Treasurer, Brent Johnson as Secretary, and Gretchen Behm as Past-President.

Additional board members are: Dave Schachterle, Ty Kimble, Sheryl McGovern, Julie Brunscheon, Lisa Rivera Skubal, Lea Ann Saul, Jodi Landau, Gregg Humble, Brandon Gray, and Ron Gaines. Liaison members are: John Miller, Jeff Sitzmann, Patrick Gibbs, Jane Messingham, Kim Manning, and Karen Smith.

The Community Main Street Board of Directors has the ultimate responsibility for the Main Street program. Their responsibilities are to educate, build consensus, stimulate the downtown economy through action, focus activity on the downtown, and maximize volunteer participation in the revitalization process. The board serves as a private sector advocate of downtown revitalization by promoting community involvement, acceptance, and commitment to the revitalization effort.

About Cedar Falls Community Main Street

Cedar Falls Community Main Street, Inc. is a volunteer, non-profit organization established in 1987. It is established to foster economic vitality while preserving and promoting the historic image and character of downtown Cedar Falls. Through the integration of business improvement, design, organization and development, and promotion into a practical management strategy, it creates a change in the downtown’s economic base. For more information, visit www.communitymainstreet.org or call (319) 277-0213.


National Small Business Week June 16-22


Every year since 1963, the U.S. Small Business Administration takes the opportunity to highlight through National Small Business Week the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from all 50 states and U.S. territories.  Small business owners can participate in online-only panel discussions on hot topics like social media and business financing starting daily at 4pm ET. All events, in-person and online, will be streamed live on www.sba.gov/smallbusinessweek . Also visit this site for a full schedule of events and additional information.

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber salutes our small business investors and our partnering organization including Main Street Waterloo,  Cedar Falls Community Main Street and many neighborhood and business districts who help create and maintain a business friendly environment. The Cedar Valley economy was built by small business owners and entrepreneurs. They are equally vital  today and essential to building  our future.

The importance of supporting small business is illustrated in this infographic.

Please mark your calendars for our Small Business Expo in partnership with UNI’s Small Business Development Center,  November 7, 2013.


KWWL Building to Undergo Major Renovation

Remodeling project points facility toward the future with a nod to the past

6 June 2013 – KWWL today announced plans to renovate the historic KWWL building in downtown Waterloo. The building, located at 500 East 4th Street, has been the home of KWWL since 1958. The announcement stems from an exhaustive review conducted by the company over the past year to assess the facilities and the feasibility of renovation or relocation to another site. It was determined that the present and future needs of the company could be satisfied in the current location.

The station and building are owned by Quincy Newspapers, Inc., a private, family-owned company that operates 12 television stations, two radio stations and two newspapers. Quincy acquired KWWL in 2006.

This decision will launch an extensive, multi-million dollar two-phased rehabilitation and modernization program. The building is a four-story structure comprising 55,000 square feet and is considered an historic landmark of downtown Waterloo.

Phase One plans will include restoration of the building’s exterior, including the first-floor glass façade. Concurrently, the existing facilities of the television station will be brought up to contemporary broadcasting requirements. These plans call for first- and second-floor interior renovation. Phase Two of the project will involve renovation of the building’s third and fourth floor. The exact details of the Phase Two renovation are still in the planning stage.

The building, originally called the Overland Hanson Building, was built in 1914 and was a car dealership noted for its four floors of automobiles and service. The building still contains the oversized freight elevator used for transporting automobiles from floor to floor. Later, the building was known as the Insurance Building before becoming the KWWL Building in 1958.

Quincy is seeking federal and state historic designation for the property along with local support from the city of Waterloo. The company will begin the project upon successful completion of the historic tax credit application.

“KWWL is a Waterloo institution and the decision to remain in our building and in the city of Waterloo is important for the city and for us,” said KWWL Vice President and General Manager Jim McKernan. “KWWL covers a 21-county area encompassing

Contact: Jim McKernan , V.P. General Manager,  Phone: 319-291-1200.


Iowa Property Taxes Reduced for Commercial & Industiral Tax Payers

The persistence of Iowa commercial and industrial property owners finally paid dividends in a reduction in your property tax burden! After several tries over the last decade, the legislature and Governor came to agreement on the start to property tax reform, and provided modest tax reduction at the same time.
We appreciate those of you who contacted your legislators, encouraging them to finally act on an inequity in the tax system that has persisted – and has been an impediment to economic growth –  for far too long.

While not all was achieved that we were looking for – the rate of rollback is much less than the original proposal –  it is a start. Beyond this, it may provide the motivation for a reform of the entire system in years to come.

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, through its Government Relations Committee and our director of governmental relations Steve Firman, collaborated with a coalition that included the Iowa Chamber Alliance, Iowa Association of Business & Industry, Professional Developers of Iowa, and Iowa Taxpayers Association to continually impress upon our elected officials the need for this change.

Conference Committee Report for SF 295 – Property Tax


Division I—Business Property Tax Credit (“Senate Plan” element)

  • Creates a Business Property Tax Credit for property taxes due and payable in fiscal  year 2015.
  • $50 million is appropriated in fiscal year 2015 to the Business Property Tax Credit  Fund
  • $100 million is appropriated in fiscal year 2016
  • $125 million is appropriated in fiscal year 2017
  • $125 million every year thereafter
  • Each person who wishes to file a claim will obtain a form from the County Assessor.
    The  form does not have to be filed again until the property is sold or transferred.
  • The state will use the money appropriated into the Business Property Tax Credit Fund to reimburse local governments the amount of credits issued.
  • When fully phased in, at least $145,000 of property value on every business would   be equal to the residential rollback
  • Total Fiscal impact to local governments is $16 million when fully phased in.


Division II —Property Tax Assessment Limitation and Replacement (“House Plan” element)

  • Assessment growth limitation moves from 4% to 3% on Ag and residential immediately.
  • Commercial and Industrial will assessed at 95% of valuation starting January 1, 2013; at 90% starting January 1, 2014; and is frozen at 90% thereafter.
  • The State will appropriate money for replacement of the lost revenue. Payments will be made by IDR to county treasurers:

FY 15 $78.8 million (includes multi-residential)

FY 16 $162.8 million (includes multi-residential)

FY 17 $154.1 million (does not include multi-residential and capped at this level

going forward)


Division III—Multi-residential Property Classification

  •  Creates a new property classification: Multi-residential
  •  Multi-residential will include apartments, nursing homes, assisted living facilities , and  certain other rental property
  •  The existing classifications are Residential, Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial
  •  Multi-residential properties will eventually equal the residential rollback after 10 years.
  •  Total fiscal impact to local governments is $85.3 million when fully phased in.

Assessment Year 2013 95%

Assessment Year 2014 90%

Assessment Year 2015 86%

Assessment Year 2016 82%

Assessment Year 2017 78%

Assessment Year 2018 75%

Assessment Year 2019 71%

Assessment year 2020 67%

Assessment year 2021 63%

Assessment year 2022 and thereafter: Residential rate


Division IV —Telecommunications Property

  • Determining the taxable value of each company stays the same
  • Each telephone company will receive a partial exemption from taxation on the value of the company’s property. This is phased in, with half in assessment year 2013 (FY 15), and the remainder being added in assessment year 2014 (FY 16)
  • Department of Revenue is directed to complete a comprehensive study of the telecommunications industry and report recommendations for change to the General Assembly

Assessed value        $0-$20M        $20-$55M        $55-$500M        >$500M

Exemption                    40%                    35%                    25%                     20%


Division V – Iowa Taxpayers Trust Fund Tax Credit

  •  Each year, beginning July 1, 2014, the balance of the Taxpayers Trust Fund exceeds $30 million a tax credit will be issued to Iowa taxpayers
  •  The tax credit will be issued to Iowans with a tax liability
  •  $60 million is the maximum amount that can flow into the taxpayer trust fund each year
  • $60 million equals a $27 credit per filer. $120 million would equal $54


Division VI -Property Assessment Appeal Board

  • Five year sunset – July 1, 2018, lower salaries, adding another appraiser to the   board (replacing the finance profession with state and local tax policy experience, allowing for a speedier hearing process.)

Division VII—Earned Income Tax Credit

  • Increases the Earned Income Tax Credit from 7% to 14% in tax year 2013; 15% in tax year 2014
  • The credit remains refundable.
  • The increase is effective retroactively to January 1, 2013.
  • Fiscal impact: $30.8 million in FY 14 , increasing to $34.5 in FY 15


Advanced Manufacturing Hub Step Closer with State Funding

The Cedar Valley TechWorks is one step closer to becoming the physical location of an Advanced Manufacturing Hub for the region and state thanks to legislation adopted this week.  Nearly $4 million was included in Iowa Economic Development Authority appropriations for the project.

The IEDA’s Iowa Invocation Council, which will administer the funds, has been working closely with the Cedar Valley TechWorks and Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber to establish the Campus as the designated site for the Hub.

The bulk of the funds will construct improvements in the Tech 1 building on the Campus. A portion of the funds will be used for the University of Northern Iowa to purchase a 3-dimensional (3D) printer to fabricate on-demand molds for cast components  to support  advanced manufacturing , in collaboration with TechWorks.

“With this funding, we can make the capital and infrastructure improvements to the Tech 1 building needed to attract more technology and bio-products related industrial operations and partners to the campus. The investment in building improvements and equipment will prepare space for new businesses and educational programs, and bring tremendous momentum and excitement to the Campus as these projects move forward alongside the previously announced anchor projects,” states Cary Darrah, General Manager of the Cedar Valley TechWorks Campus. “ We are grateful to the entire Cedar Valley legislative delegation for its bi-partisan advocacy for this funding, especially Senator Bill Dotzler who really went to bat for the Cedar Valley and the TechWorks Campus. His work for this and other economic development issues this year is recognized by legislators from both sides of the isle.”

Jerry Thiel, Director of UNI’s Metal Casting Center is also optimistic about the impact of the collaboration on the industry statewide, “The capabilities of having technology like this will undoubtedly increase the overall competitiveness of Iowa manufacturers by allowing them to deliver products to the market at an unprecedented rate.”

Randy Pilkington, Executive Director, UNI Business and Community Services adds,
“This is a substantial investment in advanced manufacturing not just for the Cedar Valley, but for the entire state of Iowa. It also shows UNI’s commitment to advanced manufacturing statewide.”

What this means to the Cedar Valley

“The Cedar Valley is known as Iowa’s center of Advanced Manufacturing,” states Steve Dust, CEO of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber.  “With the high concentration of manufacturing in our economic area, and the manufacturing technology -related resources of UNI and our higher education partners, the Cedar Valley is the prime location to establish the state’s hub of leading edge applied manufacturing technologies. As businesses and entrepreneurs from all over the Midwest access our equipment and facilities to improve and produce innovative products, we take another step in innovation led economic development in the Cedar Valley economy, and toward fulfilling the original vision for the Campus. We’re proud to be known as the Advanced Manufacturing Hub,” concludes Dust.

The Governor is expected to sign the bill into law before the end of June.

The Cedar Valley TechWorks is a 30-acre advanced manufacturing and biotechnology research, development and education center, and business and manufacturing cluster. The campus is located in downtown Waterloo, Iowa adjacent to the John Deere operations. The Cedar Valley TechWorks is owned and managed by the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber.




Historic Tax Credits Awarded To The Green@TechWorks Campus

Iowa Cultural Affairs – State Historic Preservation Office has notified FDP, developer of The Green@TechWorks that $8.8 Million of Historic Tax Credits have been awarded to the project. The state office made the award based on a design that honored the industrial past of the Tech II structure while incorporating the features of the modern …business hotel, and office and educational spaces of The Green@TechWorks project. In addition to the work of Waterloo-based InVision architecture, FDP relied on Tallgrass Historians of Iowa City. Tallgrass Historians also assisted the developer in the process of nominating the site for the National Register of Historic Places.

Cedar Falls Community Main Street

Cedar Falls Community Main Street
Announces New Associate Events and Promotions Coordinator

Cedar Falls, IA – The Cedar Falls Community Main Street Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Emily Yaddof began her duties at Community Main Street August 1 and will be serving as the new Associate Events and Promotions Coordinator.

Yaddof was raised in Northeast Iowa in rural McGregor. She attended Iowa State University, graduating with a degree in Marketing and a degree in Technical Communication. After college, she returned to Northeast Iowa, accepting a position with the Clayton County Development Group where she spent almost two years promoting tourism and economic development opportunities in Clayton County.

Yaddof is thrilled to have the opportunity to join the Cedar Falls Community Main Street team “I have heard very good things about Community Main Street and I am looking forward to the new opportunities my role as Associate Events and Promotions Coordinator will bring.”

Cedar Falls Community Main Street, Inc. is a volunteer, non-profit organization established to foster economic vitality while preserving and promoting the historic image and character of the downtown.

TechWorks finally appears to be moving downtown forward

Just what does $50 million buy these days?

We’re about to find out, as work on the long-talked-about TechWorks project appears finally ready to start this year.

TechWorks, in theory, always has been a great concept as a salve for downtown Waterloo, which, like other central urban business districts across the country, started a long downward slide when stores and other businesses moved out and buildings fell into disrepair. The farm crisis of the late 1980s certainly didn’t help.

Talk of downtown redevelopment is nothing new. What’s new is action, which appears to be starting.

Davenport-based developer Rodney Blackwell ventured into town with an eye on building new housing in downtown Waterloo and left with TechWorks on his mind.

“The bones of that building are incredible,” he said.

Whatever vision crept into Blackwell’s mind started to grow. Plans were drawn and revised. Consultants were brought in and high-level meetings held over the last couple of years.

And last week, that vision was unveiled to a roomful of civic and business leaders in the form of The Green @ TechWorks. When the project is completed sometime in the late summer or early fall of 2013, the campus will immediately have enough solar and wind power to provide as much as 60 percent of its energy needs. The “Tech 2” building will include “world-class” showroom and office space, as well as an upscale 100-room hotel/restaurant complex tailored to the needs of business and leisure travelers.

Next door will be a 24,000-square-foot John Deere Tractor and Engine Museum that planners say will attract tourists from all over the world. Deere also will have a thoroughly updated training facility on the premises. Planners say they are on the cusp of signing at least one new tenant for Tech 1.

And, that’s just part of a downtown renaissance planned for downtown. Blackwell says work will begin in the summer on revitalizing a downtown corridor dubbed “Main & Main,” along Commercial Street around the convention center.

Add to that, new housing along the riverfront, the riverfront plaza and amphitheater project and all of its amenities, rehab projects either on the drawing board, under way or already completed, plus the new SportsPlex, and it’s hard to doubt the rebirth of downtown Waterloo is finally taking shape with full force.

There have been hints that the promise of downtown was beginning to be realized, with ongoing individual projects too numerous to list here.

In other words, there already is visible evidence that the presence of TechWorks is setting off redevelopment in a long-moribund area of downtown.

Now, with Blackwell’s participation, a fuller-scale transformation of downtown is set to begin, as soon as next summer.

TechWorks is in the center of the action, but it is only the beginning.

That always has been the plan. Soon, we will be seeing concrete evidence of that long-held vision.
Read More: http://wcfcourier.com/business/local/column-techworks-finally-appears-to-be-moving-downtown-forward/article_6157d500-4daa-11e1-988b-001871e3ce6c.html#ixzz1mHNkalMV

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