Following the original designation as an Iowa Great Place in 2005, and a couple of years of working through existing organizations, the citizens of Coon Rapids, Iowa, my hometown, recognized that ongoing efforts required formation of a separate non-profit organization to lead further development in the community. Two years ago, they created that organization that is now known as "Creating Great Places" (CGP), with a volunteer board of directors.
The two main elements of the CGP mission are:
1. To provide area public and non-profit organizations with technical assistance, particularly in the areas of planning, fundraising and communications, and
2. To enhance rural vitality through carrying out its own projects in the areas of rural arts, the environment, outdoor recreation, diversity and historic preservation.
The 27 May 2010 issue of the Coon Rapids Enterprise, upon which this report is based, carried a full report of the 2008-2009 activities of the CGP. The following is an abbreviated summary of that report.
Over the past two years, the CGP has raised more than $754,000 for other groups. This included $355,000 in federal funding for Whiterock Conservancy to build a 22 mile internal trail system for mountain bikes and equestrians, a $365,000 in State Transportation Enhancement for neighboring Guthrie County to begin to secure right of way for the trail to Herndon, $10,000 in state and private funds to support the downtown survey conducted by the Coon Rapids Historic Preservation Commission, a donation to the CR-B School Foundation, and planning dollars to the cities of Bayard and Breda as well as to Guthrie County tourism.
For their work, CGP has received two recent awards:
1. On 6 Mar 2010, the Governor of Iowa and Iowa Sisters State awarded CGP the "Robert D. Ray Service Award for 2010,"
2. On 20 May 2010, CGP received a "2010 Preservation At Its Best" Award from Preservation Iowa.
Each of these awards was in relation to the efforts of CGP on the "Khrushchev in Iowa" program, the 50th anniversary celebration of the 1959 visit to Iowa, including Coon Rapids, of the world leader.
Families are Forever! ;-)