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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Iowa Downtown Resource Center Visit

The Iowa Downtown Resource Center will be visiting Montezuma on Wednesday & Thursday, October 17th & 18th.  The purpose of the DRC team visit is to conduct a series of short interviews with residents and stakeholders throughout the community as we continue to strive toward a unified vision for Montezuma's historic downtown district.  Montezuma Community Development needs your help!  The goal is to interview as many people possible over the course of the two-day visit, 250 people total.  This is a huge undertaking for just one person to coordinate.  You can help by spreading the word to your friends, neighbors, favorite businesses, organizations you belong to, community leaders that you know should be involved, and more. 

Several 30-minute interviews will be taking place at the Montezuma Public Library throughout both days of the DRC visit.  The second day will culminate with a public forum at the Montezuma Memorial Hall at 7 PM.  The forum will be open to anyone in the community that wants to hear the DRC team's preliminary recommendations for the future of our downtown.  If you wish to participate in an interview time, just give me a call and leave a message or drop me an email with your name, time you wish to interview, and what group you represent.  The interview schedule below is a guideline, but can be interchanged to meet the needs of anyone that wants to be involved.  Groups are limited to 12.   

You can learn more about the Iowa Downtown Resource Center by visiting, Downtown Resource Center visit is being underwritten by the City of Montezuma.

Feel free to forward this information to your contacts by clicking on any of the share buttons at the end of this post.  Thank you for your time and consideration. 

Terence Blain, MCD Director
Office:  641-623-7600
Wednesday, October 17th
1:00   Seniors and Retirees
1:30   Small business and downtown property owners
2:00   Local industry and employee representatives
2:30   Community service organizations
3:30   Local industry and employee representatives
4:00   County and local officials
4:30   Community service organizations
5:00   Small business and downtown property owners
6:00   Community service organizations and school
6:30   Small business and downtown property owners
7:00   Montezuma and Lake Ponderosa Residents
7:30   Montezuma and Lake Ponderosa Residents
Thursday, October 18th
8:30   Small business and downtown property owners
9:00   Local industry and employee representatives
9:30   Montezuma and Lake Ponderosa Residents
10:30  Local media
11:00  Montezuma and Lake Ponderosa Residents
11:30  Open Group
12:00  Open Group
7:30 Public Forum at the Montezuma Memorial Hall on Thursday
Everyone Welcome!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

MCD Board of Director's Minutes

The Board of Directors for Montezuma Community Development met in regular session on September 6, 2012 at the Montezuma City Office.  Board members present:  Jo Ahrens, Aaron McCaslen, Andrea Martin, Charlie Sheets, Clayton Hjelmland and Terence Blain.  Absent:  Joel Kercheval and Christy McCaslen.
President McCaslen called the meeting to order at 6:05 p.m. followed by a reading of the minutes from June 2012.  Sheets led the motion, followed by Hjelmland to approve the minutes as read.  The treasurer's report was discussed, with Blain indicating that over $10,000 in operating budget funding had been received since June.  Martin led a motion to approve the treasurer's report, following a second by Ahrens.  Both reports carried with unanimous approval.
Blain presented a quarterly executive summary explaining the activities and accomplishments of the organization since early summer.  In light of the extensive meeting agenda, Blain requested that board members review the summary and ask questions at a later time, and as they arise. 
Tax attorney Mike Horn was present to speak about the organization's tax-exempt status application and to answer any questions for the board.  Horn explained that McCaslen will need to sign a power of attorney as an officer for the organization.  He also gave information on contributions to the organization, including those that exceed $250 in exchange for goods and services, and counseled the board on verbage needed to accompany a certificate of contribution in the event that this type of contribution is received.  Horn informed the board that the tax-exempt application, one-time filing fee will be $850 made payable to the United States Treasury.  The board entered a motion to approve the payment, led by Sheets and seconded by Hjelmland.  A payment of $850 was approved by the board. 
Blain led a discussion to update the board on the city's contract with First Children's Finance to complete a financial feasibility study, break even analysis and business plan for the future community daycare facility and program in Montezuma.  McCaslen spoke on behalf of the city council and Ahrens spoke on behalf of the daycare committee on the importance of the study as a necessary step in the process.  FCF will work with the daycare committee and local stakeholders in authoring the plan, which would be complete by the end of February 2013.  Blain suggested that MCD's future role in the project could be to solicit private investment to furnish the new facility.  
Sheets and McCaslen updated the board on the south housing development, including the changes in the original plan to maximize the development with 31 buildable lots.  Sheets discussed the pre-construction meeting that occurred earlier that day, with plans to begin moving dirt early and completing as much work as possible during the fall months.  Paving of streets would not begin until the spring of 2013.  Blain encouraged the board members to attend the official ground breaking ceremony scheduled for Monday, September 24 at 10:00 a.m. 
Blain updated the board on efforts to bring revitalization to the downtown historic district and commercial center of Montezuma.  He has been in meetings with downtown building and business owners to provide information on CDBG funding through the state for a facade improvement grant.  The project has been well received, but more information is needed before full community support (a requirement for the grant) can be gained.  A tour of Belle Plaine's completed downtown project has been scheduled, with plans to meet with that city's officials to talk about the process and to gain a better understanding of what Montezuma can expect.  A final arm of moving the grant application forward is the Iowa Downtown Resource Center visit on October 17th and 18th.  Blain has been working on the schedule for the 2-day community engagement, which includes small group meetings for the community to help vision the future of Montezuma's downtown.  The board encouraged all the steps being taken to move the downtown project forward. 
Blain presented an annual fundraising campaign that focuses on funding the regular operating budget of the organization, and also allows for private investment in community development projects for Montezuma.  One-time contributions and monthly budget options through secured electronic funds transfer from contributor's bank accounts provide two options for those who want to participate financially in the organization's mission.  Blain explained that partnerships are important in accomplishing what needs to be done.  The 2013 operating budget goal is $39,500 ($17,000 commitment from the city) with a goal of $36,000 in private investment.  Blain will work with Poweshiek Development on other marketing materials that enhance the campaign, and plans to begin a mailing to the community in the coming weeks.  Sheets made a motion to approve the fundraising campaign, with a second by Martin.  The board unanimously approved the campaign. 
Blain also presented a revised strategic plan for the organization.  Blain and Martin have been working together to break the plan framework into categories, including prioritizing and suggested timeframes.  The plan categories include:  Downtown Revitalization & Community Planning, Community Growth & Services, and Community Marketing & Promotion.  The board will study the details of the plan and continue the discussion at the next board meeting. 
Sheets led a short discussion on providing a job description with key responsibilities for the executive director position.  Blain has encouraged this as a step to continue building organizational structure and capacity.  Sheets with work with Kercheval on presenting a job description in the near future.  Hjelmland contributed that bringing core groups of people together to work on community projects has been a step in the right direction. 
The next board meeting has been set for Monday, October 15 at 6:00 p.m.
McCalsen adjourned the meeting at 7:28 p.m.

Downtown Belle Plaine Walking Tour and Q&A:  Leaving from the City Office at 3:15 p.m. Thursday, September 13.  We will return by 6:00 p.m.  Downtown business and building owners are invited to attend.  Please call the MCD office to reserve a spot in the carpool, or you may meet us in Belle Plaine at their City Office at 4:00 p.m.  The address is 1207 8th Ave. in Belle Plaine. 
Community Zoning & Planning Workshop:  ISU Extension will present a worshop on Community Zoning & Planning for local officals at the Montezuma City Office on Thursday, October 4 beginning at 5:30 p.m.  The cost is $25 and includes materials and dinner.  Montezuma officials may attend at no cost.  Please contact the MCD office to RSVP your plans to attend.  Space is limited.  641-623-7600. 
Downtown Fall Clean-Up:  Saturday, October 13 at 9:00 a.m.  Bring your rakes and workgloves.  Time to get ready for the cold weather season.  This a great volunteer and community service opportunity.  Meet at the Bill of Rights Memorial on the square. 
Iowa Downtown Resource Center Visit:  Wednesday and Thursday, October 17 and 18.  Plan to participate as we vision together the future of Montezuma's downtown.  Save the date!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

An Invitation to Participate in
Downtown Revitalization
As a business or building owner in downtown Montezuma or as a local contractor, you have a personal stake in the future vitality of our newly recognized historic district and central business area.  The City of Montezuma, Montezuma Community Development, Poweshiek Development, Region 6 Planning, and the Iowa Economic Development Authority are working in partnership to begin lining up a strategy for bringing much needed revitalization to the core of our community.  In addition to possible sources of funding for historic preservation, Montezuma also has an opportunity to apply for a façade improvement grant through the Iowa Economic Development Authority.  Montezuma could be eligible for as much as $500,000 to bring transformation to our storefronts that would positively impact the future of downtown for years to come.   Many communities in our area have benefited from a project such as this, including Belle Plaine and Bloomfield. 
There are several criteria that must be met in order to proceed with the façade grant application.  The city has already adopted a necessary resolution to identify the need for downtown revitalization.  They have also made a financial commitment to sponsor a two-day community engagement with Iowa’s Downtown Resource Center.  Later in the year, the city will receive a written plan with recommendations for downtown from the DRC team. 
Over the next few months there will be many opportunities to gather information, share input and pledge your support for downtown revitalization.  This includes your own financial participation in downtown façade improvements.   To participate, downtown building owners should plan to contribute 10-30% of the total project cost.  The investment in this improvement project is considerably less than most grant programs which require a 50% match.  But before we can proceed, we need to find out who is on board and begin to look at design and cost estimates just so you know what will be expected.  If Montezuma receives the grant, there would be a 12-18 month lead time to come up with your contribution.  The project could be complete by 2015. 
The grant application deadline is closing in January, so we need to come together as a community to explore what is possible.   Please save the dates for these important events and plan to participate.  If you would like to attend and carpool to the walking tour scheduled with the City of Belle Plaine, please call the MCD office by Monday, September 10th.  

Tuesday, September 4th, Choose 9 a.m. OR 6 p.m. – Montezuma Public Library
For downtown business and building owners, financial institutions, and local contractors

Thursday, September 14th at 4 p.m.– RSVP by Monday, September 10th
We will tour Belle Plain’s completed downtown project and meet with local officials for Q&A

Wednesday & Thursday October 17th & 18th – Community Interviews
Thursday, October 18th at 7:00 p.m. – Public Forum at the Montezuma Memorial Hall
Input and visioning for the future of Montezuma’s downtown

South Housing Development News

Bonham Trail, a popular area on the southside of Montezuma, will add a nearby recreational amenity to the South Housing Development that is scheduled to break ground in the coming weeks.  The 31-lot development will make way for single-family and multi-family housing units along the Barnes City Highway.  The City of Montezuma and local utilities including Montezuma Light & Power, MMS Consulting of Iowa City and local general contractor Sheets Excavating, are working together to complete the development by Spring 2013.  Montezuma Community Development will host a ground breaking ceremony in the near future.  A pre-construction conference is scheduled for this week. 

An Invitation to Participate in a Community Planning & Zoning Workshop
Thursday, October 4th from 5:30 to 8:45 p.m.
Montezuma City Hall, 501 East Main Street
$25 registration at the door includes materials and dinner
(Montezuma officials no charge)

The City of Montezuma and Montezuma Community Development invite you to participate in a special workshop “Introduction to Planning & Zoning for Local Officials”.   The three-hour workshop from Iowa State University Extension has been designed to introduce the basic principles of land-use planning and development management to elected officials, planning and zoning officials and board of adjustment members.
Community development and land-use planning create ongoing challenges for Iowa’s city and county officials, many of whom have not been formally trained, according to Gary Taylor, assistant professor of Community and Regional Planning at ISU.
“Introduction to Planning and Zoning for Local Officials” presents case scenarios in a highly interactive format highlighting issues frequently faced in the land-use process. Subjects covered during the training include roles and responsibilities of land-use decision makers, the planning and zoning commission, the zoning board of adjustment, common legal issues, rezoning, nonconforming uses, variances and special uses, and conflict of interest procedures.
Please RSVP your plans to attend the upcoming workshop by Monday, September 17th, or direct your questions by calling or emailing the Montezuma Community Development office.

Montezuma Website Info Updates Needed
Did you know that Montezuma's community website, averages 600 hits per week, and includes complimentary listings for public community calendar events, free business directory listings, and information and resources on getting connected in Montezuma?  Facebook and other social media outlets are regularly linked to the information which often peaks daily traffic to the site by as many as 200 users.  Over 22,000 hits have been made to the community website since October 2011.  If your business or organization information needs to be updated or added, please contact the Montezuma Community Development office.