Indianola Awarded “Iowa Great Places” Designation

The City of Indianola has been awarded the “Iowa Great Places” designation by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs! View the press release here.

Iowa Great Places is a competitive program, based on a rigorous application process, that recognizes Iowa communities that “cultivate the unique and authentic qualities of their local places.” The designation allows Indianola to apply for Iowa Great Places funding (average award $204,000), and provides professional training, technical assistance, and access to a state-wide network of leaders from other “great places.”

The theme of Indianola’s application was “Destination Indianola.” It focused on 4 elements of what makes Indianola great, along with our collective vision for the future of these assets in our community:

  • Arts and Culture: Indianola is home to arts and culture anchors like the National Balloon Classic, Des Moines Metro Opera, and local performing arts organizations like Carousel Theatre. Our application included plans to build on this by adding public art, establishing an art center/gallery, marketing our year-round attractions, updating our community branding and more.
  • Education: We are home to Simpson College and an exemplary K-12 education system. The application included a vision for improving the campus-to-community connection with an “art corridor” between campus in the Square.
  • Great Outdoors: Indianola has 14 parks, 8 miles of trail and nearby regional outdoor attractions like Lake Ahquabi, Summerset trail and the Annett Nature Center. The application highlighted early plans for a new pavilion in Buxton Park, to provide a new performance and gathering space.
  • “Small Town” Way of Life: Residents love the small town feel of Indianola. The IGP application showcased our ambitious plans for streetscape improvements on the Square, which is the geographic “heart” of our small town way of life.

Indianola Hometown Pride was proud to lead the application process, and we are grateful for the many individuals and organizations who helped along the way. A big thank you to all those who contributed to the Vision Plan and application, and prepared for the site visit, including:

  • Scott Arens, Des Moines Metropolitan Opera
  • Steve Armstrong, Indianola Hometown Pride
  • Doug Bylund, Director of Indianola Parks & Recreation Department
  • Shirley Clark, Indianola Kiwanis Club
  • Lorin Ditzler, Warren County Hometown Pride
  • Charlie Dissell, Community and Economic Development Director for City of Indianola
  • Amy Duncan, Editor of Indianola Independent Advocate
  • Brenda Easter, Director of Indianola Chamber of Commerce
  • Michael Egel, Des Moines Metro Opera
  • Jim and Rita Fromm, Local Balloonists
  • Rachel Gocken, Director of Warren County Economic Development
  • Leslie Held, Local Business Owner
  • Heather Hulen, Indianola City Council / Executive Director of Indianola YMCA
  • Emmett Konrad, Indianola Hometown Pride
  • Bob Lane, Simpson College
  • Heidi Levine, Simpson College
  • Taylor Litchkey, Indianola Community Youth Foundation
  • Tim McMillin, Des Moines Metro Opera
  • Elodie Opstad, Community Volunteer and Historian
  • Jennifer Pfeifer-Malaney, Local Business Owner
  • Terry Pauling, Indianola Rotary Club
  • Clark Ridlen, Indianola Hometown Pride
  • Emily Roush, Warren County Philanthropic Partnership
  • Art Sathoff, Superintendent of Indianola Community School District
  • Staci Scheurenbrand, National Balloon Classic
  • Jessica Schneider, Indianola Hometown Pride
  • Mayor Kelly Shaw, City of Indianola
  • Andrew Swadner, KNIA KRLS Radio
  • Monica Thompson, Indianola Hometown Pride
  • Brianna Vaughn, Camp Fire Indianola, Amicus Indianola
  • Ryan Waller, City Manager of City of Indianola
  • Josh Weitzel, Indianola Hometown Pride
  • Sue Wilson, Director of Helping Hand of Warren County
  • Members of the Warren County Historical Society
  • And the entire Indianola City Council, for initiating the application process and approving the Vision Plan

Thank you!




One thought on “Indianola Awarded “Iowa Great Places” Designation

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  1. Congratulations!. It would be nice to see East and West Highway 92 businesses spruced up. They are not pleasant to look at for sure. Even some horticulture in front would help. I try to think what a visitors sees coming in on that highway. Even businesses on Jefferson could use some sprucing up. The only beauty a visitor really sees is the garden at city hall. And it wouldn’t cost a lot of money to the businesses.

    Liked by 1 person

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