Iowa economic development leaders are rolling out a new loan program to help communities spruce up, especially small towns.
Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham says low interest loans are available to communities through the Nuisance Property and Abandoned Building Remediation to get rid of eyesore properties.
“It’s a three year to five year note that we do for them,” explains Durham, “where they can acquire these properties and either tear them down or rebuild and sell them. Or basically clean them up.”
Officials say the new program is modeled after similar re-vitalization already underway in Centerville.
Small towns get initial priority. Up to September first this year, 33 percent of the loan fund pool is reserved for communities with populations under 10,000. Communities with fewer than 2,000 people can receive loans a zero percent interest.
Interest rates range from one to three percent, depending on the length of the loan.
Durham believes the program will be a catalyst to improve rural Iowa’s appearance.
“Once you start that,” she says, “it has an incredible momentum that encourages people to start taking care of their property again.”