Rock Valley Economic Development Hosts Golden Shovel Ceremony

Rock Valley Economic Development Corp. breaks ground and partners with Homes for Iowa to provide attainable housing in Rock Valley.

ROCK VALLEY, IA- On Tuesday, June 6, the Rock Valley Economic Development Corp. (RVEDC)
held a Golden Shovel Ceremony to celebrate the eventual arrival of four newly constructed
homes in Rock Valley's East Meadow housing development, located on the east side of town.
The 1215 square-foot, 3-bedroom homes are being built in Newton, Iowa, at the Newton
Correctional Facility as part of the State of Iowa's Homes for Iowa Program.

Homes for Iowa, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization that addresses Iowa's housing shortage, trains
offenders in skilled trades, and reduces recidivism. Established in 2019 at Newton Correctional
Facility, the organization falls under the umbrella of Iowa's Prison Industries. The Homes for
Iowa Program was modeled after the Governor's House Program in South Dakota. Low and
medium-security inmates serving time at the facility are eligible to earn a paycheck while
constructing affordable housing for income-qualifying families.

Rock Valley's Economic Development Director, David Miller, has been following Homes for
Iowa, Inc. since its inception and was actually involved in getting it up and running in the state.
"I was familiar with the South Dakota Governor’s Homes process, and since my employment
with the City of Rock Valley began, I have worked with legislators and state employees to look
to see if they could replicate the program," he said. "I also had help from other people in similar
positions in the state who also grasped the concept."

After considering the plan that Miller and others across the state developed, the Southeast
Iowa Council of Government (SECOG) partnered with their local legislative representatives to
write a bill and introduce it a few years ago. Although the bill was tabled the first year, it was
adopted on the second try.

Miller explained that the RVEDC chose to bring these home to Rock Valley in an effort to
supplement Rock Valley's new construction market rather than act as a competitor to it.
"The homes are three bedrooms, and we anticipate these will be entry-level homes for growing
families," he said. "We also wanted to give proof that there is still a high demand for attainable
housing in Rock Valley.

RVEDC chose to place the homes in Rock Valley's East Meadow Development because of its
proximity to the Rock Valley Community School, the city's sports complex, and Project Youth

Along with its proximity to several of Rock Valley's amenities, homes in the East Meadows
development are eligible for the City of Rock Valley's new housing construction incentive
program. The new home buyers will be placed on a 5-year tax abatement schedule, receive
$7,500 in Rock Valley Chamber of Commerce gift cards, and qualify for a $7,500 interest-free
loan from the City of Rock Valley.

RVEDC wanted to partner with potential buyers to use the loan funds for down payment
assistance and the Chamber gift cards for other expenses, thus lowering their upfront costs and
making this project a true attainable home project," said Miller.

For more information, please contact David Miller, Development Director at 712-476-
or or Tom Van Maanen, City Administrator at 712-476-

Ground breaking ceremony with golden shovels
Economic Development Golden Shovel Ceremony