Manning designated Iowa ‘Great Place’
$150K grant will boost trails, public art, Trestle Park
By AUDREY INGRAM, Times Herald Staff Writer
January 13, 2015
Last week the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs recognized something Manning residents have known for years — Manning is a great place to live.
The city received $150,000 in grant money through the Iowa Great Places program, funding that will be used for Manning’s trail system, three new public art pieces and development of the proposed Trestle Park.
Manning was one of five new communities to receive the Great Places designation. A sixth existing Great Places community also received part of this year’s funding, which totaled $1.3 million.
The grant will contribute to more than $1 million in total projects that will take three years to complete, Manning City Administrator Dawn Rohe said.
A portion of the grant money will be used on trail sections to connect Manning Regional Healthcare Center and IKM-Manning schools to the city’s proposed nine-leg $3.6 million master trail system.
The three public art pieces will include four sculptures along U.S. Highway 141 that will depict Manning’s four skyline features — the German Hausbarn, the water tower, Trinity Church and the historic Milwaukee Railroad trestle; at least five bronze statues throughout the community — a statue of children playing leap frog already stands in the city park, and other ideas include a statue of firefighters to display at the fire station or a statue of a baseball player near the field; and a statue water feature in the city park.
The remaining $25,000 of the grant will go toward development of Trestle Park. The goal of the park is to provide recreational opportunities for adults. Suggestions from public input meetings have included sand volleyball courts, Nishnabotna River access for canoes and kayaks, grills, camping hookups, scattered hammocks and large industrial signage as a focus point.
Manning applied for the Great Places grant and designation last year but was unsuccessful.
“Our focus last year was on the trails,” Rohe explained. “We broadened our horizon this year.”
The program recognizes partnership and collaboration, Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs representative David Schmitz explained.
“Every community has a wish list of projects, whether a small town or a city,” he said.
Great Places designees have leaders who seek public input, recruit partnering organizations and have already sought other sources of funding, Schmitz said.
Manning’s work with Drake University, Iowa State University, the Iowa Restaurant Association and the Iowa Economic Development Authority “speaks to its ability to get things done and think outside the resources in their own community,” he added.
Manning was one of a dozen communities that applied this year. Other recipients included:
— Linn County, awarded $400,000 to expand the Indian Creek Nature Center into a new environmental-education and recreation center called Amazing Space. The project seeks to become Iowa’s first facility to achieve Living Building status.
— Sixth Avenue Corridor in Des Moines, awarded $250,000 to increase walkability and streetscapes near the historic and ethnically diverse River Bend and Cheatom Park neighborhoods.
— Grinnell, awarded $200,000 to expand Central Park and enhance downtown entrances. Those projects coincide with plans to develop an event center and boutique hotel, repair historic facades and rehabilitate a historic manufacturing facility into 80 apartments.
— Raccoon River Valley Trail, awarded $200,000 through the City of Waukee to develop public art along the trail, which sees more than 150,000 visitors annually. See story and photos on Page 3.
— Hamilton-Webster counties, an existing Great Place, awarded $125,000 through the City of Fort Dodge to reinvest in its historic downtown core.
According to the Great Places website, the program has invested more than $14 million in 36 Iowa communities and regions since 2005. Every $1 invested through the program has leveraged an average $22 in local and private support, according to a 2010 economic report also cited online.
Coon Rapids is the only other Great Places designee in the area. It was recognized for work to open and promote Whiterock Conservancy as an eco-tourism and recreation destination.