CONTACT: Julia McGuire, Best Development Award Coordinator, 515-988-1828awards@1000friendsofiowa.org

Dec. 31, 2020 (Des Moines, Iowa) – 1000 Friends of Iowa proudly announces ten recipients of its Best Development Awards for 2020 in eight categories. These recipients were chosen because they implemented the efficient use of resources to develop sustainable communities and provide a high quality of life.

“We have development heroes across the state who deserve recognition,” according to Julia McGuire, Program Coordinator. The 2020 Best Development Award winners are listed below (category, recipient and project, city):

  *   In the specially created Best of Show category, Steeple Square in Dubuque, for the historical restoration of a former church and school campus to serve its neighborhood through affordable housing, childcare, greenspace, and community rental space.

  *   In the Renovated Civic category, the Mason City Arena in Mason City, for converting a vacant shopping mall space into an ice skating arena to fit the recreational needs of the community with many positive trickle-down effects.

  *   In the Renovated Commercial category, the Highpoint Event Center in Clarence, for its green building practices and community involvement to restore a dilapidated building into a needed event center.

  *   In the Innovative Leadership – Large Community category, the Iowa Flood Center for its successful efforts to address flooding and water quality challenges with its Iowa Watershed Approach across the state.

  *   In the Innovative Leadership – Small Community category, Main Street Jewell for its Vendors’ Village in Jewell, which supplied new retail storefronts through creative problem solving.

  *   In the Renewable Energy category, Southeastern Community College in Burlington, for adding solar rooftop and carport canopies to reduce its carbon footprint.

  *   In the Renovated Residential category, Newbury Living’s The Brenton in Davenport for sustainably repurposing a bank building into apartments.

  *   In the Stormwater Management – Private category, the Sippy Family for its Farm Flood Mitigation project near Oxford, which showcases natural infrastructure as a way to reduce floods and lessen negative impacts downstream for the good of everyone.

  *   In the Stormwater Management – Public category, the City of Clive for its Walnut Creek Hills Stormwater Wetland in Clive with its flood storage, enhanced water quality and wildlife habitat, and positive downstream effects.

  *   In the Urban Placemaking and Greenspace category, the Des Moines Heritage Trust for its Des Moines Heritage Center in Des Moines which incorporated conservation, vision, and impact into the restoration of an aging train depot.

Additional details about each winning project and their respective categories are forthcoming at the 1000 Friends of Iowa website, 1000friendsofiowa.org.

“Iowa has many great development projects, and by celebrating them and their future-minded leaders working behind the scenes, we hope to advocate for and see an increase in the use of sustainable practices,” stated Kari Carney, Executive Director of 1000 Friends of Iowa. “All of the nominations bring hope and encouragement to their communities.”

This year, a new Best of Show category was created to recognize the outstanding results of Steeple Square’s comprehensive and thoughtful work in Dubuque’s oldest neighborhood. A virtual Awards Ceremony will be held Friday, Jan. 29, 2021, at noon. State legislative leaders have been invited to speak. The ceremony will be open to the public and followed by time for media questions.

The Best Development Award winners are selected from a pool of nominations each year by an independent group of jurors. This year’s jurors were Pat Boddy, retired Senior Partner and Sustainability Director at RDG Planning & Design; Megan Down, Project Manager for Impact 7G; Jeff Geerts, Special Projects Manager at the Iowa Economic Development Authority; Jeff Hanson, Community Development Operations Manager of the City of Sioux City, and Ulrike Passe, Associate Professor of Architecture and Director for the Center for Building Energy Research at Iowa State University.

The Best Development Award Program recognizes projects in up to 12 different categories as a way for 1000 Friends of Iowa to express the fact that smart land use and sustainable communities are more than constructed buildings. All of the award recipients help advance sustainability across our state by considering site design, outdoor and indoor environmental impact, community and public use, and long-term benefits.

Founded in 1998, 1000 Friends of Iowa is the only organization in the state focused solely on promoting responsible land use in community, state, and federal development decisions. Its mission is to unite Iowans in efforts to protect farmland and natural areas, revitalize neighborhoods, towns and cities, and improve quality of life for future generations.