Manning was one of four Iowa cities this year to receive an AARP Community Challenge Grant.
The $5,000 award will help fund lighted structures along the city’s Main Street.
City officials and economic-development advocates gathered in Manning Monday morning to accept the award from Jeremy Barewin and Anthony Carroll from AARP in Des Moines.
This is the second year AARP has distributed the grants. This year, of the 1,600 cities and nonprofits across the country that applied, 129 recipients were named, and only four in Iowa — the others were Avoca, Keokuk and Woodbine.
The purpose of the grant is to increase methods of transportation in the town, improve a space such as a park or town amenity or increase housing options.
With the money, Main Street Manning worked with Iowa State University to design four icon boxes that will be made of corten steel. The structures will be placed along both sides of Main Street and will feature the four Manning -icons: the historic Trinity Church, the German Hausbarn, the railroad trestle and the Manning water tower. The icons will be built by Puck Custom Enterprises in Manning and have to be completed by Nov. 5.
Barewin, an associate state director for AARP, said cities like Manning that are always looking to bolster their downtowns are great candidates for the grant.
“We’re just excited that when you see an incredible Main Street like this,” he said. “Looking at communities like Manning that have Main Streets, making sure that Main Street serves as that centerpiece as more people are coming back here for business and entertainment and culture and arts — we’re excited to be able to bring this project that you’ve worked so hard on here, locally.”
Manning Mayor Harvey Dales, praised the people of Manning for their efforts in seeking out funding to keep improving and bettering the city.
“This proves that partnerships work, and it’s good for the whole community,” Dales said. “It’s good for everybody.”
Sarah Puck, Main Street Manning’s executive director, said she has been in Manning only about a year and that where she is from, she never saw this much involvement or life.
“It kind of just floors me how active and alive the Main Street is here,” Puck said. “I’m excited to see more improvements.”