Creative placemaking animates public and private spaces, revitalizes structures and streetscapes, improves local business viability and public safety, and brings diverse people together. When done well, creative placemaking builds a strong network of local advocates, successfully navigates from planning to funding to implementation, and recognizes both common need and niche opportunities.
Iowa Valley Scenic Byway
Iowa Valley Scenic Byway is a collaborative effort between three counties, a dozen communities, and many local and state partners to preserve and strengthen the historical and scenic intrinsic qualities along this official state-designated, driving route. Iowa Valley RC&D works to support and maximize resources to better serve the area through strategic grant writing, marketing & publications, economic development, and synergistic projects. The Iowa Valley Scenic Byway efforts are coordinated by a volunteer board and supported by Iowa Valley RC&D. The board members currently serving are:
Mitch Malcom, Belle Plaine
Vicki Schwab, Belle Plaine
Jason Kriegel, Meskwaki Hotel & Casino
David Rettig, Amana CVB
Don Misel, Iowa County Historical Society
Ardene Cross, Clutier Betterment Association
Gerry Kopriva, Clutier Betterment Association
Chris Anderson, Iowa County Conservation
Jon Childers, Amana Heritage Society
Janet Busch, Tama/Toledo Chamber of Commerce
Traveling a scenic byway is a great way to experience authentic food, arts, culture, recreation, and natural areas because the amenities found along them are united together in many projects and publications. The Iowa DOT’s Official Travel Guide to Iowa’s Byways is a great comprehensive booklet available to travelers which details the routes and points of interest for each byway. You can also learn more about every Iowa byway by visiting Travel Iowa.
Iowa Valley Cultural Council
The Iowa Valley Cultural Council is a volunteer council from a six-county area (Linn, Johnson, Benton, Iowa, Tama, and Poweshiek Counties). Council members work together to identify priorities and strategies to connect important sites to the resources they need. In 2017 the council had grant funds from an Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Partnership Grant & a Rural Community Development Initiative Grant to support their goals, which included a regional Rare Book Showcase event, regional plan, and professional photo shoots. Long-term, this council is supported by the Iowa Valley RC&D whose staff continue to seek out grant opportunities and help to coordinate events/projects for the council.
The Council has three goals:
1) Think Regionally: The council believes that collaboration and big picture thinking can help set our region apart. The council also realizes that resources to benefit our special places are limited and that it is critical to pursue opportunities that group together similar sites and efforts.
2) Find a Fresh Angle: Many of our sites have been around for a long time and need to be shared in new and exciting ways. The council believes in creative and modern approaches to telling our region’s stories.
3) Implement & Benefit: The council is a group of leaders that is well-connected to the region and experienced with restoration, local marketing, fundraising, etc. We know that there is no substitute for honest hard work and the investment of time and energy. We like to get things done.