The Enhance Iowa Board awarded $900,000 in Community Attraction and Tourism (CAT) grants to North Liberty’s Centennial Center at its Dec. 7 meeting in Des Moines.
“Over the past several weeks, the enthusiasm for the project, which is expected to break ground in July, has been particularly clear, with commitments from family foundations, local and regional businesses and North Liberty residents,” said Nick Bergus, community relations director for North Liberty. “They’re excited about increasing arts access here, adding event space to relieve pressure from our bursting-at-the-seams Community Center, improved access for all mobility levels as well as a large splash pad, new year-round recreation opportunities, more shade, an honor garden and, yes, real bathrooms, all while preserving the great lawn.”
Part of the grant stipulation requires that North Liberty raise $100,000 in 90 days. The total cost for the project is approximately $8,357,963, and so far $2 million has been raised thanks to local organizations and individuals. North Liberty has committed $6.5 million towards the improvements.
The park will be completed in four phases – the first phase includes an event center, amphitheater, restrooms, and a plaza, which will break ground next summer with a 2025 completion date. Phases two through four will be a splash pad and inclusive playground units in 2026, and an open-air pavilion for shade and an honor garden to recognize Iowa’s service men and women (date to be determined).
The Enhance Iowa Program awarded a total of $1.9 million in CAT and Sports Tourism grants at it meeting. In addition to North Liberty’s Centennial Center, grants were also issued to:
- The Fitch Family Indoor Aquatic Center in Ames, for $500,000
- Catch Des Moines for marketing the National Junior High Finals Rodeo, for $3,572
- Newton Community Events, Inc. to market the Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend, for $500,000
The Enhance Iowa Program, a program by the Iowa Economic Development Authority, provides financial incentives to communities for the construction of recreational, cultural, educational or entertainment facilities that enhance the quality of life in Iowa. To date, 132 CAT grants have been awarded by the board, totaling $44,660,023.