Manning, Iowa -- During yesterday afternoon’s (Sunday) Donkey Basketball fundraiser in Manning, the city joined 36 other Iowa communities in being designated an Iowa Great Place. Gayle Redman, a member of the Great Places Citizen Advisory Board announced the designation from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.
City manager Dawn Rohe (Roy) said the grants are designed to assist with community projects and Manning had listed five of these in their bid for the $150,000 award. The grant money will be distributed to phases two and three in the 9-phase city-wide trail system, to the development of Trestle Park, to five bronze statues that will be placed throughout the community, a water feature in the city park and to four metal art pieces that will be placed along highway 141.
Rohe added that the estimated total cost of all projects is over $1 million, and a grant stipulation that all projects be completed within three years, will have Manning kicking off a Great Places fundraiser soon. For more information, or to find out how to donate to these projects, you can contact Manning City Hall.
Economic Development Manning seeks hotel
By AUDREY INGRAM, Times Herald Staff Writer
April 7, 2015
Next month the City of Manning will launch a study to determine what kind — if any — of hotel to build.
The feasibility study will be conducted in partnership with Iowa State University Extension. City leaders expect to start around May 1 and receive a recommendation by the end of June.
The need for hotel accommodations has been voiced several times in recent years, prompted by growth in area wedding facilities and local industry, City Administrator Dawn Rohe said.
Recently, a small group including an interested resident, a local industry representative, a Main Street Manning representative, a city employee and a banker contacted several hotel chains to determine the process to bring a hotel to Manning, she said. One of the top requirements to consider building is a feasibility study conducted by an outside entity to determine what size of hotel the area could support, including required rates, return on investment and break-even calculations.
The cost estimate to complete the study is $6,000. This cost will be paid by the Manning Economic Development Agency and two private individuals.
The study will also explore various potential hotel concepts, from chain to ma-and-pop organization and from a traditional to a destination lodge- or cabin-style layout, Rohe said. Any hotel built in Manning would require the support of local investors.
Site selection is an additional piece of the study — the most logical place seems to be near the Manning Hausbarn Heritage Park, but the city will “look to the professionals,” Rohe said.
The perceived need is greater now than ever, she said. Wedding bookings have increased at the Hausbarn and at the new Templeton Center, and local companies have pulled in trainees from an expanding area, she noted.
“These people have to drive somewhere for the night,” Rohe said. “It might as well be Manning.”
Hausbarn director Freda Dammann credits a $120,000 Google grant for online advertising and promotion and a Chicago Tribune article recognizing the Hausbarn as the top barn wedding site in Iowa for increased attention to Manning.
In 2013, the Hausbarn hosted 22 weddings, and by February last year, only 12 weddings had been booked for 2014.
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Connected Nation, a national organization dedicated to increasing broadband availability, recognizes Manning's Certified Connected designation and it's tie-in to economic development for small rural communities. The article identified how Manning integrated initiatives from its Main Street Iowa partnership with the Connected Iowa initiative to improve the economic development environment for the community. "While the Main Street program focuses on leveraging historic, cultural, and architectural assets, Connect IA and Connected Nation focus on the town’s modern infrastructure. Both programs work toward similar ends: improving the character, living, and working environment of the community. Working with both the Main Street program and Connect IA, Manning began to refurbish its existing resources while introducing and redeveloping new resources as well." The author, Samantha Stemler, Connected Nation Communications, should be credited with uniquely combining Main Street's focus with Connected Nation's focus into a single economic development purpose!!
The article: http://www.connectmycommunity.org/project-view/connected-community-designation-assists-main-street-development
Broadband connectivity is a key decisive factor for more and more businesses. From online marketing to online financial management tools and much more, companies of all sizes are harnessing the Internet to make business faster, easier, and more efficient. Community initiatives focusing on economic development are working hand-in-hand with broadband development programs to help expand business through broadband and give everyone access to the opportunities broadband brings.
Manning, IA began working with Connect Iowa to coincide with their work as a Main Street community. The National Main Street Center is a national organization committed to historic, preservation-based community revitalization. While the Main Street program focuses on leveraging historic, cultural, and architectural assets, Connect IA and Connected Nation focus on the town’s modern infrastructure. Both programs work toward similar ends: improving the character, living, and working environment of the community. Working with both the Main Street program and Connect IA, Manning began to refurbish its existing resources while introducing and redeveloping new resources as well. Officials at the Main Street program were the first to inform Manning community leaders of the designation and encouraged them to seek certification.
“It’s a powerful tool in our economic development toolbox,” said Ron Reischl, Main Street Manning Board President. “We wanted to show that we have Internet capabilities for businesses and also the ability for others to work at home.”
While renovations began on three storefronts in the community in accordance with the Main Street program, Manning was also working on the underlying links which businesses and residents depend on. Local stakeholders from the hospital, school system, local utilities company, local government, and others all met together with Connect IA and Main Street organizers to measure broadband availability and methods for improvement. A survey of the area revealed capabilities available to both the public and the business community, also paving the way for local utilities provider Manning Municipal Communications and other Internet providers to expand into dark or underserved areas.
New businesses have begun to move into Manning’s renovated storefronts and more renovations are still underway. Manning has also conducted a rebranding effort as a part of the Main Street program and its economic development strategy, attracting new tourism as well as local residents and businesses. Marketing and advertising efforts as well as the city’s new website have all used its new banner, imagery, and key opportunities available. Manning showcases its advantages as a quiet small town that is also well-connected and thriving. As of January, 2015, Manning added its Connected community certification to its designation as a Main Street community, becoming the first city with a population of fewer than 5,000 people to receive the status.
“The Connected certification is a tool that shows business and residents that we have high-speed connectivity,” said Reischl. “It is something that we obviously analyzed in depth, and it shows that we have an action plan moving forward.”