Forest City Economic Development will be able to continue its work of supporting the city of Forest City thanks to continued funding from the Forest City City Council.

The Forest City City Council approved the transfer of $75,000 in Tax Increment Financing to the Forest City Economic Development during the Monday, Nov. 19 city council meeting.

Forest City Economic Development Director Beth Bilyeu gave an industrial marketing presentation to council members prior to approval of the funds.

She said the industrial category was just one of the three focuses for economic development in Forest City.

The other two were workforce recruitment and housing recruitment.

She said these monies were put to use in various forms, such as market studies, feasibility studies, trade shows, as well as more industry and housing projects.

Bilyeu said funds had already supported the Westown Place Apartments venture.

Additionally, monies are currently in allotment for the upcoming Cobblestone Hotel, which is to be completed by next summer. It will provide overnight housing to the community as well as surrounding communities.

“The Westown Place Apartments was one of several  projects made possible through the TIF Funding of the Marketing Plan,” said Bilyeu. “This has been instrumental in funding development in the community in three focused areas:  industrial recruitment, workforce recruitment and retention, and housing.”

Westown Place Apartments are located at 210 Johnson Drive, in Forest City and are considered workforce housing. They were established two years ago. It is a 24-housing unit, owned by Forest City Economic Development.

Iowa's Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg visited the Westown Place Apartments on Tuesday, Nov. 19, as a follow up.

"Really excited about the project," Gregg said, "because workforce housing has been a real challenge in our rural communities. Governor Reynolds and I have made rural housing a priority for our Administration.

"Governor Reynolds has tasked me with leading the Empower Rural Iowa Initiative. This will be a very attractive place for a young person, in particular for those moving back to Forest City. The units are very modern and attractive.”

During his visit, Gregg toured the apartment of resident Collin Hertzer, who is employed at Winnebago Industries. Gregg’s discussion with those present revolved around numerous topics regarding the economy.

His questions centered on finding out what challenges had been met along the way, as well as costs for the housing, along with feedback on what could be done to have the best outcome for these projects.

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Jesusa Christians is the Community Editor of the Forest City/Britt Summit-Tribune.


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