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IEDA board approves awards, Newton reinvestment district plan


The Iowa Economic Development Authority Board has awarded financial assistance to two companies that will help in the creation and retention of 69 jobs and result in a $102 million capital investment for the state.

The IEDA board announced the awards to Kent Pet Group in Muscatine, a subsidiary of Kent Corp., and Cedar Rapids-based Collins Aerospace on Friday.

Kent Pet Group was awarded a $150,000 forgivable loan and tax benefits through the High Quality Jobs program to construct a new 113,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Muscatine. Kent Pet Group produces natural and sustainable cat litter.

The project represents an $80 million capital investment and is expected to create 28 jobs, of which 27 pay a qualifying wage of $22.08 per hour.

At its meeting Friday, the IEDA board also gave final approval to the Newton Legacy Reinvestment District submitted by the city of Newton through the Iowa Reinvestment District program. The program provides for up to $100 million in new state hotel/motel and sales tax revenues to be “reinvested” within approved districts that cannot exceed 75 acres and must be in an Urban Renewal Area.

The board approved the maximum benefit amount of $14 million.

Newton’s project is focused on adapting existing facilities from Maytag’s departure for other uses, including apartments, a boutique hotel, event space and green space, as well as downtown improvements and trail connections. The plan proposes a capital investment of nearly $48 million.

The IEDA board on Friday also announced awards to four startups:

  • AxisU of Ankeny was awarded a $100,000 Demonstration Fund loan for product refinement, market planning and entry activities, and key personnel. The company connects prequalified candidates to local trades-based employers. The platform also provides ongoing apprenticeship training that, when combined with on-the-job training, is recognized with a certificate from the U.S. Department of Labor.
  • Ankeny-based Enceinte Health Inc. was awarded a $100,000 Demonstration Fund loan for proof of concept work, product refinement, market planning and entry activities, key personnel, and equipment. The company developed a smart commode to understand an individual’s health and wellness behavior within their home.
  • Des Moines-based MetaFuel was awarded a $50,000 Proof of Commercial Relevance loan for product refinement and market planning and entry activities. The company created a system to help truck fleets manage fuel tax compliance.
  • Shaka Culture Inc., based in Hiawatha, was awarded a $100,000 Demonstration Fund loan for market planning and entry activities and key personnel. The company provides software that addresses team morale in remote or hybrid work environments.

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