Tammy Roberts, Bloomfield’s Development Director, had an optimistic message for the Bloomfield Optimist Club Friday morning as she presented a program on Bloomfield’s development projects.
Roberts is especially excited about the $21 million dollars being allocated to Iowa cities of 50,000 population or less. The funds are from COVID money and are being allocated on a first-come, first-served basis across the state.
Eleven Bloomfield businesses are interested in applying for the non-matching facade grants ranging up to $50,000 each, Roberts said.
Building owners must have an engineering report and architectural plans and be willing to pay engineering, architectural, and grant-writing fees to follow through with the plan.
Ashley Utt of Pathfinders will be writing the grants and Pathfinders will administer the grants.
Jim Tometich of Tometich Engineering was in Bloomfield 2.5 weeks ago to assess the condition of the 11 buildings and later returned with a drone to assess roof conditions.
Roberts also updated the Optimists on improvements at the Bloomfield City Park. A grant has been secured for swimming pool improvements and another grant is being sought to install a splash pad.
The new pickleball/basketball court is the result of grant money and application is being made for other grants to install a sports surface on the court as well as create a space for small children’s games such as hopscotch.
Roberts is also looking forward to securing grant funds for a children’s playground at Lake Fisher.
In her position as development director, Roberts is partnering with AHEAD of Area 15 to improve Bloomfield and Davis County housing. “Low-to-moderate Income owner-occupied homes can receive up to $12,500 in grant money for roof, bathroom, insulation and other upgrades,” she said. “These improvements improve energy efficiency and make homes more affordable for those in poverty.”
Roberts said AHEAD funds can also be used for loans to landlords.
For more information on the AHEAD housing improvement program, Roberts suggests watching a Facebook live program on AHEAD on the City of Bloomfield’s website.
Roberts said she is also working with Indian Hills Community College and local businesses to establish an apprenticeship trades program to help develop southern Iowa’s workforce. She will be partnering with Future Ready Iowa to develop a local program which allows high school sophomores and up to join apprenticeship programs.
Roberts is also excited about the development of a dashboard for the City of Bloomfield’s website. Hill Productions is creating the dashboard, which consolidates important data about Bloomfield and Davis County.
“There will be tools of measurement on the dashboard in a consolidated form,” she said.
Those interested in the community will be able to quickly access information on housing, median income, labor-shed numbers, graduation rate, average wages, cost of living and more.
“A lot of cities our size do not have this tool,” she said. “This helps put us ahead of the game.”
Roberts said six buildings in the downtown are being renovated now and in two years, the downtown will look very different.
Roberts, always an optimist, says “Success breeds success. When young people see what is happening here, they should be energized.
“Our older generation still provides a critical foundation, but it takes all of us (to move the community forward). We just have to put the pieces of the puzzle together.”