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ICON, Val Air awarded Destination Iowa grants


The Great Outdoors Foundation has been awarded $7 million in Destination Iowa funds to help develop the Scott Avenue site of the ICON Water Trails initiative. The funding was part of $12.9 million in grants that were announced on Friday by Gov. Kim Reynolds. ICON Water Trails is a $125 million initiative that connects 80 sites along 150 miles of waterways in Central Iowa. The grant is about 13% of the cost of the Scott Avenue bridge site, which is estimated at about $53.5 million. The Scott Avenue site is the largest of the first phase of the initiative, which is intended to create a safer, more user-friendly area for activities from kayaking to fishing. Other projects include boat launches, trails and other improvements. Other funding for ICON comes from a mix of public money and a capital campaign. It also received a $25 million BUILD grant from the Federal Highway Administration. The tentative schedule is for the Scott Avenue project to be bid later this year with a contract being awarded and work beginning in spring of 2023. The other projects to receive funding include:

  • $4,900 to Council Bluffs and the Southwest Iowa Nonprofit for Collaborative Impact for Phase 4 of the $32.8 million Iowa Riverfront Development project, which includes a treetop walk, an observation tower and an adventure course.
  • $1 million to the Val Air Ballroom for an overhaul of the ballroom into a venue that can hold up to 2,400 people. The overall cost of the project is about $12.7 million.

Funding for Destination Iowa funds comes from the American Rescue Plan Act. So far, $50 million has been awarded to 13 projects statewide through the program.

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