(The Center Square) – The Iowa Economic Development Authority board approved $6.5 million in state funding for the Destination Iowa grant initiative previously paid for with federal dollars.
More than $115 million in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act was used for 46 projects, according to the IEDA’s website. Lawmakers agreed to continue the program with state dollars this year.
“Destination Iowa has inspired communities statewide to dream big about projects that will give tourists a reason to explore and newcomers a reason to call Iowa home,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a statement. “This initiative has advanced 46 projects across the state so far, activating more than $480 million in total investment.”
Visitors spent $6.9 billion in Iowa in 2022, according to a report presented to IEDA this month. Tourism’s total economic impact in 2022 was $10.4 billion, the report said.
“Support from the state will open this opportunity for even more communities to boost tourism and quality of life while raising the profile of our state,” Reynolds said.
Cities, counties and nonprofits can apply for grants that cover up to 25% of the construction, expansion or development of a destination, according to the IEDA. The entity is required to have 65% of the financing secured before applying. Applicants that didn’t receive money from the federally-funded program or another program since July 1, 2018 will receive priority, according to Reynold’s office.
The pre-application process will continue through Jan. 31, 2024. Awards will be announced in April, according to IEDA.