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Lt. Gov. Gregg tours Conrad apartment

Talks rural development grants

T-R PHOTO BY CHUCK FRIEND - Iowa Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg (second from left) is shown with Krista Grant (Executive Director of Conrad Chamber-Main Street), Jeff Martin ( Mayor of Conrad) and Dan Shine (Shiner Construction owner) after touring an upstairs housing unit in a building on Main Street Conrad owned and constructed by Shine. Gregg was in Conrad to talk rural development and to view an example of a Main Street Challenge grant at work.

CONRAD — Iowa Lt. Governor Adam Gregg toured Conrad Wednesday and met with city officials to speak on rural development grants, and in particular upstairs housing grants.

While in town he met with Executive Director of Conrad Chamber-Main Street Krista Grant, Mayor Jeff Martin and Dan Shine of Shiner Construction – then toured an upstairs apartment housing unit constructed and owned by Shine.

Gregg said that he was helping city officials learn about the processes that go into applying for challenge grants and to explore ways of making it easier for small communities to apply for these grants.

“Conrad is a great example of what you can do. You look down Main Street and there are a lot of vehicles and a lot of activity. This is not always true in many small towns,” Gregg said. “I came to Conrad to see what we could learn from the community and have these possibilities for other communities elsewhere as well.”

Gregg said there are two main kinds of grants small towns could apply for: Main Street Challenge Grants and the Community Catalyst Grant.

“The project completed here in Conrad was done by using a Main Street Challenge Grant,” Gregg said. “But I just came from Ackley where they are using a $100,000 Community Catalyst grant to renovate and old building for upstairs housing.

“I feel like today I just saw a before and after scenario – in Ackley the upstairs area was literally torn apart, and in Conrad the beautiful apartment that shows what can be done by using the grant money. What you have done here will help other communities see what is possible.”

Someone asked if rural development would be something that would be addressed again in the next legislative session,

“Gov. (Kim) Reynolds and I have put together the Empower Rural Iowa Initiative before last session, with a task force consisting of members from all across the state which are looking at things such as housing, broadband connectivity and how to encourage local leadership in our smaller Iowa communities. These task force members will continue to work to develop ideas that will be brought to future legislative sessions.”

Gregg said that Conrad is a great community with strong local leadership, major employers and a sense of community pride that is evident by talking with people. You don’t see that everywhere, he said.

“It is nice that he is checking out small towns and is working with the legislature and governor to invest in our growth,” Shine said.