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Northwest Iowa counties awarded $61K

WASHINGTON -- The Northwest Iowa Planning & Development Commission is among those agencies receiving funds from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The department's Economic Development Administration has awarded six investments totaling $367,000 to Iowa economic development agencies.

The NWIPDC will distribute $61,000 to its service area of Buena Vista, Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, Lyon, O'Brien, Osceola, Palo Alto and Sioux counties.

The agencies will use the funds to establish an economic development planning framework, process and strategy that supports private capital investment and job creation in the counties they serve.

"It's to assist us with staff time and other administrative costs in administering our economic plan," said Ted Kourousis, the commission's executive director. The regional economic development plan is updated every year, he said, but their funding goes more to the plan's administration than its establishment.

Commission staff helps communities prepare applications for infrastructure grants to update their water, sewer or water treatment systems.

"It also covers a myriad of other technical services we provide for transportation, housing and worker assistance," he added.

The grant -- which has increased in recent years from $51,000 -- is matched with $61,000 of commission funds -- a mix of dues from its member cities and counties and in-kind donations from the Osceola County Economic Development Corporation.

While Kourousis said the area's economic development projects won't be "fast and frivolous," this year, "Some things are in the hopper. Suffice it to say we're very happy the Department of Commerce awards us this funding on an annual basis, and we try to put it to the best use we possibly can."