Success Story: 2040 Woodbury County Comprehensive Plan

The Woodbury County Comprehensive Plan was adopted by the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors on May 7, 2024.

Plan Purpose:

To provide a current inventory of community services and resources and a thoughtful statement of the community’s vision and goals or the future. The plan includes analysis of the following planning topics: Housing, Economic Development, Transportation, Public Infrastructure and Utilities, Community Facilities and Services, Land Use and Natural Resources, and Disaster Response, Recovery and Resiliency.

Future Impact:

The new Woodbury County Comprehensive Plan 2040 will build upon previous plans and studies, re-evaluate goals and objectives, and set a clear course of implementation options through the next 20 years.

FINAL Plan: Woodbury Comprehensive Plan 2040

If you have any questions on this plan, please contact Corinne Erickson at corinne@simpco.org or call 712-279-6286.


 

Success Story: 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count

This summer, the cities of Sioux City and Sergeant Bluff wrapped up the implementation of projects funded by the 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count grant program. The initiative is a public-private partnership with the Healthiest State Initiative (HSI) and the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that promotes daily physical activity and nutritious choices for children through environmental and policy changes in the community. The name represents the daily recommendations of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, 2 hours or less of recreational screen time, 1 hour or more of physical activity, and 0 sugary drinks- drink more water.

This was the first of three years of funding in Sioux City, and the third and final year of funding in Sergeant Bluff. This year, Sioux City directed funds to Apple Tree Daycare Center, The Boys and Girls Club of Siouxland, the All-Abilities Coalition, the Parks and Recreation Department, Beyond the Bell, and Downtown Partners. Sergeant Bluff directed funds to their public library, Parks and Recreation Department, and the Sergeant Bluff Luton Elementary School.

Sioux City’s year one projects:

  • Apple Tree Daycare Center in Morningside, which has the highest enrollment among daycare centers in Sioux City, installed a filtered, refrigerated water bottle filling station for use by the children and staff.
  • The Boys and Girls Club of Siouxland (BGC) purchased a hydroponic garden system to offer gardening workshops for their students during their summer programs. The kids harvested lettuce that they grew themselves to take home and share with their families.
  • The All Abilities Coalition and the Siouxland District Health Department partnered with several locations in the community to purchase adapted sports equipment. The Miracle League purchased adapted basketball hoops, Siouxland Adaptive Sports received hockey sleds and a beeping hockey puck, Camp High Hopes received adaptive fishing equipment, and three bowling alleys received retractable handle bowling balls, a ball pusher, and a switch activated ramp.

“We actually had people independently use the retractable handle bowling ball who were not able to do so using a traditional ball. We now have people asking us to go bowling who were embarrassed to use a kids ramp which was the only option prior to the new adaptive bowling equipment.  It amazed me how much one little ball changed the game for our members. It made such a difference.” Sabrina Stuhrenberg, NPI staff.

  • Sioux City’s Parks and Recreation Department received funding toward the installation of gaga ball and cornhole games for the new riverfront development in Chris Larsen Park. These permanent installations will encourage children and adults alike to incorporate more active leisure into their visit to the park.
  • Beyond the Bell used funds to purchase several bikes for their first ever Bike Club this summer. Students showed a lot of enthusiasm for the new club!

“Some things I liked about bike riding are being able to enjoy nature, riding with friends, going to new places, and having fun! I definitely want to do it again next year and I hope more people come too.” – Fernanda

“I was skeptical the first time about riding a bike. I couldn’t get my leg over, but then the second time I tried it was so easy. I think BTB should make this a every month thing.” – Devin

“I like the bikes a lot because when I ride them it is a smooth ride all along the trails. I would like to go on more trails next year because it is also good exercise.” – Alex

  • Downtown Partners, in partnership with MercyOne Medical Center, used 5-2-1-0 funds for the creation of signs that prompt physical activity, posted throughout the skywalk system downtown. Illustrations show how to do simple body weight exercises that require no workout equipment.

The steering committee, made up of representatives from public health, recreation, nutrition, and human services sectors, will meet this fall to discuss year two projects. These projects will be implemented in the spring/summer of next year.

Sergeant Bluff’s year three projects:

  • The Sergeant Bluff Public Library, which serves around 1000 members and around 20 visitors a day, installed a filtered water bottle filling station for use by visitors and staff.
  • The City of Sergeant Bluff’s Splashpad Park received funds to install a Kid’s Gym Log Roll, Zig Zag Balance Beam, and Kid’s Gym Triple Uneven Agility Bars.
  • Sergeant Bluff Luton Elementary School used funds for 5-2-1-0 promotion and outreach.

 

Success Story: Emerson Comprehensive Plan

Project Purpose:

The Village of Emerson contracted with SIMPCO to complete an update to their Comprehensive Plan to continue strategic progression for local development opportunity that accurately depicts public input as well as analysis of planned and necessary improvements, recent population characteristics, and regional economy.

Project Background:

A comprehensive plan or a “comp” plan is used to define what a community aspires to be in the future, typically 10-20 years out. It assesses current conditions within the community and outlines recommendations and goals across a range of topics including housing & neighborhoods; economic development; transportation; community facilities & services; and land use.

As structured under state regulations, this plan serves as a guide for the Village of Emerson in directing its future goals in growth and development. It represents a unified vision and creates a framework for decision-making on policies and actions to address challenges to the community, allowing Emerson to build upon established strengths and opportunities. It provides a legal basis for land use regulations by way of zoning and subdivision ordinances as otherwise prohibited by the State of Nebraska for communities without an adopted comprehensive plan.

Future Impact:

Emerson’s Comp Plan establishes prioritized goals in five categories: Low/No Cost, Policy, and System Changes; Short-Term Implementations; Project-Specific Correlations; Long-Term Implementation; and Illustrative Goals, Funding Specific. Goals can be somewhat fluid, addressed or itemized annually as they align with funding opportunities, collaborative efforts, and other scheduled projects as they may be directed or formatted to comply with such goals.


Success Story: 2023 Dakota County Housing Study

Plan Purpose:

NIFA made available to eligible applicants funds when matched, to conduct community or regional housing studies intended to stimulate ideas for addressing the community’s housing issues and needs. The plan is to address and include recommendations for public policy, socio-cultural, environmental, technological, and economic elements for the community.

Project Background:

For the past several years, the lack of affordable housing has been a significant barrier to achieving community growth and sustaining workforce labor.  To better determine methods to address housing gaps on all economic levels, SIMPCO Housing Department sought funding to conduct a comprehensive study.  The study is intended to assess existing housing stock, the potential for new housing development, and assess program supports as available at local, state, and federal levels. Once determined, the study also serves as a resource for SIMPCO and participating communities to consider program and policy implementation that maximizes effective use of existing housing stock and considers gaps and barriers faced by those currently seeking to move into or within the study area.

Future Impact:

A comprehensive overview of existing stock and needs as determined through market research and survey analysis serves as a guide for communities looking for housing solutions. A basis for comparison for like communities, the study provides insight into common homeowner/property owner maintenance needs establishing grounds to support program applications and efforts. Data specific to the study area is imperative in correctly identifying paths for development as well as policy and program development.

View the completed Dakota County Housing Study, here.


Success Story: 2022 Update of the Sioux City Metro Trail Map

Plan Purpose:

SIMPCO was awarded a micro-grant from the Missouri River Historical Development (MRHD) organization to update the Sioux City Metro Trail Map and web-based app to reflect trails constructed and planned since the previous map update in 2017.

Project Background:

The new version of the map includes all current trails, on-street bike routes, and known future trail projects. Maps will be distributed throughout the Siouxland Metro communities of Sioux City, North Sioux City, South Sioux City, and Sergeant Bluff. They will also be available in public spaces such as city halls, museums, parks, and libraries; as well as in some businesses, such as hotels and sporting goods stores.

To accompany the paper maps, an interactive online version was created as well. This version can be accessed from SIMPCO’s website in the transportation planning division under bicycle/pedestrian activities: https://simpco.org/divisions/transportation-planning/bicycle-pedestrian-activities/.

A corresponding QR code will be available on paper maps and at several trailhead signs throughout the bike network for quick mobile access to the online map. The QR code is also printed on promotional items that will be distributed along with the maps and at future events.

Future Impact:

The updated map will encourage residents and visitors alike to explore the metro area’s extensive trail network that is growing year after year. The online version will be updated continually to include newly constructed and planned trails.


Success Story: 2021 Extended Corridor Study (An addendum to the 2018 Northwest Iowa Hazardous Materials Commodity Flow Study)

Plan Purpose:

This 2021 Extended Corridor Study serves as a response to recommendations set forth in the 2018 Northwest Iowa Hazardous Materials Commodity Flow Study (CFS).  Its purpose is to assess the frequency and presence in the transport of hazardous materials and specifically placarded chemicals along key over-the-road corridors.  Due to extensive construction at the time of the 2018 study, the LEPC determined that a supplemental study would be necessary once major renovations were complete.  Data collected through on-site observations guide emergency response planning to ensure preparedness for all transportation-related hazardous materials incidents.

Data was assessed by US DOT chemical classification, chemical number, corridor, and County.  Six corridors were included with five 8-hour observations per direction for each of I-29, US 20, and US 75 and three 8-hour observations per direction on IA-3, US 59, and IA-60.  One additional data set was collected for C38 due to a recent increase in severe traffic incidents in the area.

Future Impact:

Inclusion of crash and incident data with record of the observable presence of certain chemicals enables county Emergency Management Agencies to incorporate known dangers into training exercises and planning protocol.

Because some sensitive data was included for discussion, the document is not publicly available for viewing.  County EMAs may be contacted for permitted review and/or discussion of content.


Success Story: Pine Street Extension Study

Project Purpose:

The purpose of the Pine Street traffic study was to evaluate the impact of the proposed Pine Street enhancement and extension from US-75 to Dakota Avenue in Dakota City, Nebraska.

Project Background:

Pine Street (located in Dakota City, Nebraska) is currently a city-owned gravel road that mainly handles a low volume of passenger vehicles. Pine Street connects to D Avenue, dead-ending approximately half-way to Hwy 77/75. It is located in the heart of the City’s industrial park and is the southernmost access of the Dakota City Tyson Fresh Meats plant. The current rural nature of the road and lack of connection to the State Highway System has forced industrial truck traffic through Dakota City and limits industrial expansion.

SIMPCO and the City of Dakota City commissioned JEO Consulting Group, Inc. for this study to evaluate the proposed Pine Street enhancement (Dakota Avenue to 20th Street) and extension between US-75 and 20th Street. Existing traffic turning movement counts were collected and analyzed with regional trend data and proposed development traffic. Subsequently, existing and future traffic demand was generated for traffic analysis.

JEO’s study provides the City and SIMPCO with existing conditions, environmental and future conditions analyses, and recommendations for the study area.

Future Impact:

  • Assist the City in taking the next steps for and completing the Pine Street Extension Project
  • Provide guidance on improving vehicle and pedestrian safety along Pine Street and additional study area intersections
  • Support new economic development and industrial growth opportunities in Dakota City

View Pine Street Extension Traffic Study Here


Success Story: Resilience Toolkit

Project Purpose:

Provide community leaders, development organizations, economic developers, chamber executives, and business owners a framework for disaster preparation that looks beyond the immediate steps needed to address a crisis to long-lasting recovery as well as prevention efforts.

Project Background:

SIMPCO collaborated with the Iowa Association of Councils of Governments (ICOG), the U.S. Department of Economic Development Administration (EDA), and the consulting group Capture Management Solutions to create a regional resource for business, government, and development organizations to assist with navigating and mitigating crises. The EDA provided funding through the 2020 CARES Act.

Future Impact:

  • Help community leaders, businesses, governments, and organizations be more equipped to prepare for and adapt to changing conditions as well as to withstand and recover quickly from crises
  • Provide an up-to-date resource guide for the region
  • Offer downloadable materials like assessment and planning worksheets for organizations to address:
    • Preparing to be resilience
    • Managing to be resilience
    • Marketing to be resilience
    • Financing to be resilient
  • Aid the Siouxland Region be more a more resilient community

To find out more and to access the Resilience Toolkit, visit https://www.iowaresilience.com/simpco  or https://simpco.org/divisions/economic-development/resilience-toolkit/


Success Story: Sergeant Bluff 5-2-1-0 Accessible Playground Project

Project Purpose:

5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! is a nationally recognized and evidence-based prevention framework to promote the daily recommendations of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, 2 hours or less of recreational screen time, 1 hour or more of physical activity, and 0 sugary drinks- drink more water.  The goal of 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! is to work with parents, teachers, child care providers, health care providers, and business leaders to increase physical activity and healthy eating through policy and environmental change in communities.

Sergeant Bluff was selected to be a part of the 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! program in 2020. This is a three-year program. For its first year, Sergeant Bluff received $30,000 in funding to implement initiatives that promote the 5-2-1-0 principles. Sergeant Bluff’s largest project completed this past year was the installation of the NEOS 360 Accessible. This is an electronic playground that features multiple games, which include one and two-player options as well as team play. As a part of the City of Sergeant Bluff’s Master Park Plan, the NEOS 360 Accessible provides a major park enhancement through the addition of a unique ADA-accessible playground equipment. The new playground was installed at 901 First Street Park.

Project Background:

The new playground offers a unique way to encourage participants to be active as the playground technology includes light and music features. Unlike typical playgrounds, the NEOS 360 does not have an age cap and can serve children, teens, and even adults. This recreational equipment provides eight games for participants of different ages and abilities to play together. The NEOS 360 project was featured, along with other Sergeant Bluff 5-2-1-0 projects, in the Healthiest State Initiative’s Success Story Blog.

Future Impact:

  • Offer new playground and activities
  • Improve park space to be more accessible to all users
  • Provide new options for kids to increase their physical activity

Success Story:  SIMPCO Completes Sergeant Bluff Active Adult/Senior Services Study

Project Purpose:

In response to a call for projects to be funded through the US EDA CARES Act program, the City of Sergeant Bluff submitted a request for analysis of Senior Services needed and available, especially as affected by COVID-19.

Project Background:

In recent years, the City of Sergeant Bluff has had significant improvements for outdoor recreation including facilities, trails, and bike/pedestrian networks.  Most projects were perceived as beneficial solely to the City’s student population.

In light of a complete stop to structured programming such as the Congregate Meal Site due to COVID, the City recognized an opportunity to fully assess services, facilities, and collaborations benefitting its 60+ population.

Key City staff, American Legion representatives, and members of the Senior Committee served on a steering committee to determine desired outcomes of the project.  A survey was sent to 500 residents with senior residents targeted where known.  The survey included some demographic detail, accessibility, and itemized interests and activities including but not limited to:

  • Use of existing and previously available facilities
  • Interest in shared use of existing facilities
  • Physical activities/exercise opportunities
  • Life-long learning
  • Hobbies
  • How-To sessions
  • Access to & Participation in the Arts

The study was presented to the City Council on July 27, 2021, with an overview of outcomes and plan layout including:

  • Methodology
  • Findings
  • Recommendations
  • Potential Funding Opportunities

Future Impact:

The Sergeant Bluff Active Adult and Senior Services Study provides a basic guide for consideration when implementing, coordinating, or recommending services, programs, or activities.  It offers an analysis of actual interests and reference to like-programming fully implemented through other agencies/organizations.  It is intended to facilitate long-term programming and resource allocation to effectively incorporate the needs of all residents.


Success Story:  Cherokee 5-2-1-0 School Garden Project

Plan Purpose:

Cherokee was selected to be a part of the 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! program in 2019. For its second year in the program, Cherokee received $10,000 in funding to implement initiatives and activities that promote the 5-2-1-0 principles. The goals of this program include increasing children’s physical activity and access to healthy eating through policy and environmental change. One of the projects completed this past year was a partnership between the Cherokee Community School District and Hy-Vee. They worked together to develop raised garden beds between their two buildings. SIMPCO assisted the city in writing and administering this award-winning grant.

Project Background:

Hy-Vee food store partnered with the Cherokee Community School District to improve the Community’s environment and access to fresh fruits and vegetables by implementing a garden that will be located on Hy-Vee property. Hy-Vee staff selected school staff and children from grades K-12 to build, plant, and harvest the garden. The high school shop classes built and installed raised garden beds. Produce will be used for nutrition education purposes within the school system as well as donated to local food pantries and the community farmer’s market. A ribbon-cutting for the community garden was held on May 21, 2021. The garden has picnic tables to host outdoor classrooms, and kids will be able to work in the garden growing their own fruits & vegetables.

Future Impact:

  • Increase students’ access to hands-on nutrition education
  • Offer outdoor classrooms for students
  • Use produce harvested from the garden to benefit nutrition education at the school and donate to the local food pantry and farmer’s market
  • Increase community’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Improve community’s environment and access to green spaces


Success Story: 2020 Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan for Cherokee, Ida, Monona, Plymouth, and Woodbury Counties

Plan Purpose:

Seventy-two jurisdictions including counties, cities, and school districts, collaborated in the development of a Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan.

Required for FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (or BRIC, formerly Pre-Disaster Mitigation) funds eligibility, a Hazard Mitigation Plan is a comprehensive assessment of several contributing factors that can influence a more resilient approach to planning and implementing future projects.  It incorporates historic records of natural and other disasters, records of projects needed or completed in response to such occurrences, and recommendations for future projects – planned and unplanned to improve resistance and resilience.

Future Impact:

Plan development requires participants to assess their facilities, equipment, infrastructure, procedures, and policies in terms of effectiveness in the event of a natural or other disasters.  When appropriate consideration is given to historical and potential events, communities are able to accurately incorporate protections into new projects.  Instead of replacing a washed-out roadway to its previous condition, for example, engineers may add drainage controls and shoulder stabilization to not only repair but also prevent future damage or loss.  Projects included in the Region list of Mitigation Actions, Strategies, and Projects are eligible applicants for BRIC funding.

The full Plan and more information on Regional Hazard Mitigation Planning can be found here under Community Development on the SIMPCO website.


Success Story:  SIMPCO completes LEPC GIS mapping application

Plan Purpose:

Emergency Management teams use chemical type, weather conditions, and incident details to accurately determine safe zones and potential evacuation procedures during and after hazardous materials incidents.  A screenshot sent to a mobile device, as previously practiced, limited details available to responders.  Emergency Management Agency coordinators (EMAs) sought the development of a tool that would allow varying levels of information to be immediately available and have the capacity to update as contributing factors may change.

Project Background: 

A three-phased project, the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) contracted with SIMPCO to develop a mapping program that would provide EMAs an interactive map to be used when responding to hazardous materials incidents.  Components considered in the development of the program were field accessibility, display of variable levels of information, 24-hour access, incorporation of unique and/or privileged data, and compatibility with contracted Haz Mat Response Team systems.  Interactive components consist of sortable data layers including:
  • Critical facility locations
  • Tier II facilities
  • Medical facilities
  • Vulnerable populations
  • Pipeline data
  • Railroad information
  • Incident history
  • Chemical links
  • Roadways
  • Waterways
  • Water resources (wells, surface water intake, etc.)
  • Fire hydrant locations (as available)
  • Truck traffic data
Multiple layers of information are accessible through the application including data drawn from recent LEPC projects.  Data on observed truck traffic patterns come from the LEPC’s 2018 Hazardous Materials Commodity Flow Study.

Future Impact: 

Through collaboration with the Region’s contracted Hazardous Materials Response Team, EMAs are able to make preliminary decisions while still on route to an incident, preparing local responders.  Once on the scene, EMAs have the information to make precise decisions regarding the protection of residents and property in potentially volatile situations.  The mapping program ensures both the EMAs and contracted HazMat Response Teams have the same information to govern the decision-making process.
For more information on hazard mitigation & control planning, contact Regional Planner, Dawn Kimmel.  To request GIS mapping services please contact Regional Planner, Gabriel Appiah.

Success Story: Housing Trust Fund Grant Completed

SIMPCO collaborated with the Western Iowa Community Improvement Housing Trust Fund (WICIRHTF) to complete owner-occupied housing rehabilitation projects utilizing Housing Trust Fund dollars set aside by state legislation.  Funding also included a 25% local match provided by participating counties.  Funding was used for direct low-to-moderate-income owner-occupied housing rehabilitation.

Plan Purpose:

The purpose of the Housing Rehabilitation Program is to assist income-eligible homeowners with 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 has assisted 15 homeowners.  Rehabilitation items included roof replacement, new siding, new windows, electrical updates, plumbing updates, and radon mitigation.

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


Success Story: Hinton Safe Routes to School Plan

SIMPCO collaborated with the City of Hinton, Iowa and Hinton Community School District to complete the 2018 – 2019 Safe Routes to School Plan.

Plan Purpose:

The purpose of the Hinton Safe Routes to School Plan is to promote safe routes for children to walk or bicycle to and from school and activities. Safe Routes to School is a national movement to make it safe, convenient and fun for children to walk or bike to school.

Future Impact:

  • A better understanding of the barriers to safe routes and recommended action steps to improve safe routes for children to walk or bicycle to and from school in Hinton
  • Identified action steps to improve safe routes to school in Hinton
  • Increased ability to implement and leverage funding for safe routes projects
  • Facilitated collaborative efforts to enhance the community and quality of life in Hinton.

The Hinton Safe Routes to School Plan can be viewed online: click here

To find out more or how your community can develop a Safe Routes to School Plan, please contact Regional Planning Director, Jake Heil.  Funding to develop a Safe Routes to School Plan is available through the SIMPCO Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) or the Siouxland Regional Transportation Planning Association (SRTPA), please contact SIMPCO staff to find out more.


Success Story: Remsen Active Transportation Plan

SIMPCO collaborated with the City of Remsen, Iowa, and Remsen Schools to complete the 2018-2019 Remsen Active Transportation Plan.  Active Transportation is any self-propelled, human-powered mode of transportation such as walking, bicycling, roller-blading, skating, or cross-country skiing and accessibility for wheel chairs, walkers, strollers or other human-powered wheeled devices.

Plan Purpose:

The purpose of the Remsen Active Transportation Plan is to:

  • Promote active transportation modes and accessibility of sidewalks and trails in Remsen
  • Connect Remsen neighborhoods
  • Improve pedestrian and bicycle safety
  • Increase levels of physical activity for community members

Future Impact: 

  • A better understanding of existing conditions in Remsen and possible priorities to improve active transportation in Remsen
  • Identified goals to improve active transportation in Remsen
  • Increased ability to implement and leverage funding for active transportation projects in Remsen
  • Facilitated collaborative efforts to enhance the community and quality of life in Remsen

The Remsen Active Transportation Plan can be viewed online: click here

To find out more or how your community can develop an Active Transportation Plan, please contact Regional Planning Director, Jake Heil.  Funding to develop an Active Transportation is available through the SIMPCO Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) or the Siouxland Regional Transportation Planning Association (SRTPA), please contact SIMPCO staff to find out more.


Success Story: SIMPCO completes the 2020 – 2024 Passenger Transportation Plan (PTP)

Plan Purpose:

The purpose of the Passenger Transportation Plan  (PTP) is to:
  • Identify the transportation needs of individuals with disabilities, older adults, and people with low incomes;
  • Provide strategies for meeting these needs and;
  • Prioritizing transportation services for funding and implementation.

Plan Background 

Per Federal requirements, the SIMPCO Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and the Siouxland Regional Transportation Planning Association (SRTPA)  developed the plan through the SIMPCO Transportation Advisory Group (TAG).   The information included in the PTP features the following:
  • Existing demographic and socioeconomic characteristics
  • Existing transportation needs and challenges
  • Identification of transportation priorities
  • Inventory of essential community facilities
  • Inventory of funding opportunities
  • Inventory of existing transportation providers
  • Proposal of strategies
  • Status of previous and current projects

Future Impact: 

The PTP serves as a catalyst to improve transportation and mobility through coordinated planning. The intended outcomes of the PTP include:

  • Improvement on transportation services
  • Increase in passenger transportation coordination
  • Creating awareness of unmet needs
  • Development of new working partnerships
  • Assisting decision-makers, advocates, and consumers in understanding the range of transportation options available
  • Developing justification for future passenger transportation investments
  • Saving dollars and the elimination of overlapping services

The SIMPCO MPO and SRTPA Passenger Transportation Plan can be viewed online: click here

To find out more or to participate in the SIMPCO Transportation Advisory Group (TAG), please contact Regional Planner, Dawn Kimmel.


Success Story: SIMPCO collaborated with the City of Arthur, Iowa to collect Geographic Information System (GIS) data on existing water facilities in the city.

Plan Purpose:

The purpose of the project was to collect additional GIS information and improve the accuracy of the existing water infrastructure inventory in the City of Arthur. 

Project Background:  

The project involved the collection of GPS coordinates of the existing water shut-off valves and fire hydrants.  A field survey was conducted in the fall of 2018.  ESRI ArcGIS collector app and Garmin GPS receiver were used to collect the GPS coordinates of the existing water shut-off valves and fire hydrants in the City of Arthur.

Future Impact:

  • Enable the city to easily identify the location of water facilities for maintenance.
  • Helps the city to maintain up-to-date and accurate water infrastructure inventory.
  • The project will enable the city to easily access GIS data to inform the city council’s decision.

To learn more, contact Gabriel Appiah, SIMPCO Regional Planner.


Success Story: SIMPCO collaborated with U.S. EDA and 27 local sponsors to complete the U.S. Highway 20 Corridor Economic Development Study

Plan Purpose: 

 The final completion of the four-lane U.S. Highway 20 in the Siouxland region, in November 2018, creates many opportunities for the counties and communities along the corridor. This study records the Siouxland region’s economic development opportunities associated with the U.S. Highway 20 corridor that extends across the nation from Boston, Massachusetts to Newport, Oregon.  The purpose of this SIMPCO Region U.S. Highway 20 Corridor Economic Development Study is to develop collaborative strategies to:

  1. Enhance the SIMPCO region’s prosperity through the promotion of the U.S. Highway 20 corridor and marketing of the communities on a regional level
  2. Promote commerce and industry along the U.S. Highway 20 corridor and increase the capacity of the region to promote job creation and private investment in the regional economy
  3. Inform community stakeholders of the economic development strengths, potential, opportunities, and assessment of specific development sites and future projects for consideration
  4. Facilitate collaboration between multiple dedicated stakeholders by identifying economic development partners, providing opportunities to network and facilitating private-public partnerships

Recommendation: 

To implement the recommended strategies identified in the study in the following topics: Region Context, Economic Development Partners, Community Identity, Transportation and Utilities, Cluster Analysis, and Site Selection.

Future Impact: 

  • A record of the 5-County study region’s context and economic development indicator’s that act as benchmarks for future comparison and measurement of the impact of the U.S. Highway 20 corridor conversion completion in the region.  Indicators include population demographics, wages, number of jobs, cost of living, Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT), Average Annual Daily Traffic (AADT), commuting trends, and an inventory of transportation and utility infrastructure.
  • A catalog of the 5-County study region’s Economic Development Partners for future collaboration and initiatives
  • An inventory of the participating sponsors community identities for marketing of the communities on a regional level
  • Cluster Analysis of the 5-County study region to increase the economic development capacity of the region, promote job creation and promote private investment in the regional economy
  • An inventory of the existing available sites and buildings in the region to promote private investment, commerce and industry along the U.S. Highway 20 corridor and site development opportunities for future consideration
  • Identified economic development strategies for implementation and consideration
  • Facilitated collaborative efforts to enhance the community and quality of life in the region

To view the U.S. Highway 20 Corridor Economic Development Study: click here


Success Story: SIMPCO collaborated with the City of Ute, Iowa to complete the 2018 Comprehensive Plan

Plan Purpose:

The 2018 Ute 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 Service, 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.

Recommendation: 

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

Future Impact:

  • A better understanding of community profile, 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 Ute

View the 2018 Ute Comprehensive Plan

To learn more, contact Nicole Peterson, SIMPCO Regional Planner.


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 Story: SIMPCO 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 a 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 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.

Recommendation:

  • 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.

Recommendations:

  • 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, a desirable working environment, and a unified County.

View the Dakota County Rural Economic Development Strategic Plan.