Success Story: SIMPCO completes two Region IV Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) projects for FFY 2018.

Project Background:  

Region IV LEPC includes the Emergency Management Agencies (EMA) and response teams for all of SIMPCO’s Iowa counties.  The LEPC is responsible for the designation of Department of Homeland Security Funds as awarded annually to address planning and training needs in light of the potential for transportation-related hazardous materials incidents.  For the 2018 Federal fiscal year, the LEPC included a Hazardous Materials Commodity Flow Study (HMCF) and Phase II of the LEPC GIS Mapping Project among its eligible projects, both contracted for completion by SIMPCO.

Project Purpose:  

A Northwest Iowa Hazardous Materials Commodity Flow study was last completed in 2007 with an update provided in 2012.  Due to drastic changes in local business and economic development, the LEPC determined that the changes in commodities traveling into, out of, within and through its five-county jurisdiction significantly impact the probability of a transportation-related incident involving hazardous materials.  As a result, an accurate assessment of current commodity flows was deemed necessary.

The LEPC GIS Mapping project began in FFY 2017 with the primary intent of creating an interactive app allowing access to incident maps for EMA Coordinators while in the field in the event of a hazardous material incident.  The application includes information not available publicly and allows the user to determine the level of information needed, eliminating excessive information for a given incident.  Phase II as completed for FFY 2018 included updates to all stored information including Tier II Facilities, Leak and Spill Incidents, and Contaminated Site data.  New for Phase II are direct links to hundreds of chemical-specific response sites enabling one-click connections rather than requiring the user to conduct an independent search.

Future Impact:  

Data analysis specific to the Region enables focused training and planning efforts benefiting area response teams.  The 2018 HMCF Study provides the LEPC with a summary of findings and recommendations to ensure practical application of the information provided.  The incident mapping program facilitates in-time decisions using a compilation of multiple data systems providing as much information as possible to the EMA Coordinator while in the field, including detailed boundaries for evacuations, where responders may previously have been limited to screenshots sent via email.  Incorporating current and relevant data into annual projects optimizes response efforts in the LEPC’s primary mission – to reduce the loss of life and damage to property in the event of a transportation-related hazardous materials incident.


For more information regarding LEPC, please contact SIMPCO Regional Planner, Dawn Kimmel.

Success StorySIMPCO collaborated with the City of Kingsley to complete owner-occupied housing rehabilitation projects utilizing TIF.

Project Background:  When a city utilizes Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to support development, a percentage of the incremental revenues generated by the project must be used to provide assistance to low-and-moderate income (LMI) families.

The City of Kingsley has had several projects that utilized TIF which created a fund for LMI Housing activities to be carried out. The City elected to utilize the funds as a grant for direct low-to-moderate income owner-occupied housing rehabilitation.

Project Purpose:  The purpose of the Housing Rehabilitation Program is to assist income eligible homeowners with necessary health or safety repairs to allow the owner to continue living in the home. As well as provide energy and resource conservation.

Carrying out housing rehabilitation activities is to preserve the housing stock in our communities while ensuring that members of the community are living in safe and habitable environments.
Future Impact:  The program in Kingsley has assisted eight homeowners to date. Rehabilitation items included: roofs, siding, windows, electrical, plumbing, and radon mediation. Program participants were able to partner with USDA-Rural Development and the Western Iowa Community Improvement Regional Housing Trust Fund to complete projects.

To find out more, or to inquire how your community can participate in owner-occupied housing rehabilitation projects, contact Amanda Harper, SIMPCO Housing Specialist.


Success Story: SIMPCO collaborated with the City of Mapleton, Jeffery L. Bruce Company, Iowa State University, Trees Forever, local volunteers and Iowa Economic Development Authority to complete the Westside stormwater improvements through Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds

Photo credit: Eric Doll, Jeffery L. Bruce Company (Plant installation)

Project Background: 

  • In April 2011, the Mapleton community was directly struck by an F3 tornado, which damaged 50% of the town. The heaviest damage was in the Westside Neighborhood, leveling or damaging homes, trees and businesses. With this severe damage in the Westside and the shallow depth of the water table, severe flooding events started to happen.
  • The community formed the Mapleton Rebuild and Recover committee to help transform the community to start an exhaustive planning process to prioritize projects that were needed to rebuild the community.
  • In 2013 the community partnered with Jeffery L. Bruce Company, Iowa State University, Trees Forever, and Iowa DOT as part of Iowa’s Living Roadways Community Visioning Program. Through a series of workshops, they developed a rebuilding plan. One of the key findings of this plan was that the majority of Mapleton’s surface runoff flows through the Westside neighborhood.

Project Purpose: 

The purpose of the project was to utilize CDBG funds, various other grant funding, local funds, and volunteer help to implement bio-infiltration trenches and surface treatment best management practices in the Westside neighborhood.

Photo credit: Jake Heil (3 weeks after plant install)

Future Impact:

  • Creating new and improved living environment for Mapleton’s Westside neighborhood, as a progressive, vibrant and peaceful place to live.
  • The project will pave the way for additional rebuilding projects to occur, complete streets and integrated green infrastructure improvements, and to help mitigate stormwater run-off.

Help infill housing on the Westside to help meet housing supply demands.

Photo credit: Jake Heil (3 weeks after plant install)

Success Story: SIMPCO collaborated with City and County officials to complete 2018 Comprehensive Plan for Ida Grove, Iowa

Plan Purpose:

  • The 2018 Ida Grove Comprehensive Plan was developed to provide a current inventory of community resources and a thoughtful statement of the community’s vision and goals for the future.  The plan incorporated public participation and includes analysis of the following planning topics:  Housing, Economic Development, Transportation, Community Facilities and Services, Land Use, and Natural Resources.  The plan can inform grant applications, leverage funding for community projects, provide legal justification for community decisions, and ensure that local policies are in step with planning best practices.


  • To implement the Comprehensive Plan goals and action steps identified in the following topics:  Housing, Economic Development, Transportation, Community Facilities and Services, Land Use, and Natural Resources.

Future Impact:

  • Better understanding of community resources, vision, and goals
  • Identified goals and action steps for community betterment projects
  • Facilitated collaborative efforts to enhance the community and quality of life in Ida Grove

Click here to view the 2018 Ida Grove Comprehensive Plan.



Success Story: SIMPCO collaborated with County and City officials to complete a Rural Economic Development Strategic Plan for Dakota County, Nebraska

Plan Purpose:

  • The Dakota County Rural Economic Development Strategic Plan was structured to provide economic development strategies that are tailored towards prosperity, promoting commerce and industry, supporting business retention, recruitment, expansion, enhancing workforce development, and exploring select commercial and industrial sites.


  • To create an economic development group amongst City officials, County officials, and leading businesses in Dakota County.
  • Continue exploring potential commercial and industrial sites for future development.

Future Impact:

  • Stronger relationships and collaborative efforts amongst communities, businesses, and residents.
  • Identified commercial and industrial sites for development.
  • New businesses, a prospering economy, desirable working environment, and a unified County.

View the Dakota County Rural Economic Development Strategic Plan.

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