Muscatine Parks and Recreation’s Role in the Community

City Week Iowa

It’s City Week here in Muscatine! That means we’ve been providing information about city government and encouraging engagement as we seek to include the community in decision making. City Week is sponsored by the Iowa League of Cities, with the purpose of showcasing and celebrating cities and the many services they provide.

Each department within the City of Muscatine plays an important role in enhancing quality of life for Muscatine’s residents. Today, I am going to share about the Parks and Recreation Department.

When I began working for the City of Muscatine, I spent time meeting with department heads and touring the facilities of their departments. One of the most enjoyable departments tours was with the Parks and Recreation Department. I liked visiting Parks and Rec because I already had some background knowledge about their offerings. Much like most people who grow up in Muscatine, I had childhood experiences of frequenting Weed Park and using the riverfront trail system. During the tour, I had the chance to learn about the background work that is required to keep the Parks and Rec facilities enjoyable places for people to visit.

Muscatine Aquatic Center

The Parks and Recreation Director Rich Klimes led me on a tour of the department’s facilities, where I learned what goes on behind the scenes to ensure Muscatine has top-notch recreation areas. The City has a 560 acre park system, which includes 21 park/recreation areas. Each facility has its own highlights, which may include playgrounds, shelters, trails, sports fields, etc. This department clearly encompasses many of the facilities Muscatine residents and visitors enjoy on a regular basis.

Not only does Parks and Rec have these facilities, but they work hard to maintain them. Maintenance of Muscatine’s parks takes time, resources and attention in order to maintain high quality facilities. Something that some people might not know is that Parks and Rec is also responsible for 140 miles of street trees and right of way maintenance.

Muscatine Riverview Center

Parks and Rec would not be able to provide their extensive services without the commitment of their hardworking staff. They have a crew of full-time, part-time and seasonal workers. Actually, if you are looking for a job, they are in need of a few more seasonal workers for this fall and winter. There are opportunities to teach sports skills, perform grounds work and work in the Club House of the Muscatine Municipal Golf Course. Check out our website to learn more!

In addition to its facilities, Parks and Rec offers 66 annual recreation programs, from gymnastics, to football clinics to volleyball leagues. There are opportunities for both youth and adults to enjoy these programs. Check out the Fall/Winter Activities Guide for information about participating in the many programs offered by Parks and Rec.

Muscatine Parks and Rec also hosts a number of special events each year. Here’s a list of upcoming events for the remainder of the year:

  • Fall Festival – Saturday, Oct. 24 at 1-3 p.m. at the Muscatine Mall
  • Turkey Trot – Saturday, Nov. 21 at 10 a.m. am at Muscatine Municipal Golf Course
  • Candy Cane Hunt – Friday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. at Pearl City Station
  • Elves Workshop – Saturday, Dec. 19 at 1 p.m. at the Muscatine Mall

The Muscatine Parks and Recreation Department maintains a high level of commitment to ensuring that Muscatine residents have recreational facilities and activities to enjoy. I hope this blog post was helpful for learning more about Parks and Recreation’s role in the Muscatine community. For more information, please visit the Parks and Recreation section of the city’s website.

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Vote for Muscatine to Receive $15,000 to Further Small Business Development

Creations by OzThe City of Muscatine is in the running to receive an award of $15,000 to further the efforts of small business development in the community, and we need your help! We have partnered with CBI Bank & Trust, Community Bank and First National Bank of Muscatine to apply and become a finalist for the Strong Communities Award. The award honors the projects, the people and the programs that promote small business growth and retention in their community and also highlights the great work that the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines’ member institutions are doing every day to help their communities thrive.

A public vote will serve as a component of the selection process. To learn more about the award, visit our website. Please click here to vote.

Muscatine’s Small Business Creation Project works to create small businesses in targeted areas of Muscatine that were once thriving business areas. Two of the business creation programs within the project include the Muscatine Small Business Forgivable Loan Program and the Muscatine Building Improvements Loan Program.

I would like to use this blog post to further explain what each of these programs actually do and how they can be utilized.

What is the Small Business Forgivable Loan Program?

It is a loan program that was created by the City of Muscatine for the purpose of equipping current or potential small business owners. The Small Business Forgivable Loans are offered for building improvements and startup costs associated with the creation of a new business or for existing businesses significantly expanding into a new market, product or service.

Businesses can obtain a loan for up to $25,000 for the business at a term of 5 years with 20% of the original loan forgiven annually at the anniversary of the origination of the loan. Funds are allocated up to $15,000 for startup costs and up to $10,000 for code compliance. Businesses receiving funding must be new businesses or be significantly expanding business operations to be eligible.

Applicant must meet 1:1 (applicant investment v. grant funding) (this may be waived in whole or in part by the City Administrator upon recommendation of the committee). Inventory is not an eligible grant funded expense but does count toward match. The City has allocated $100,000 in funding annually. Funds will be awarded to qualifying businesses based on availability of funds.

This is a great program for those who have a small business idea but do not have all of the funds needed to get started. The City wants to encourage potential business owners in their endeavor because it is truly a win-win for everyone when small businesses succeed!

Since its creation, the Small Business Forgivable Loan Program has aided in the creation or expansion of seven businesses, including Big River Guns, Hanna’s OzSome Treats, Homerun Hitters, The Rose Bowl, Sal Vitale’s Italian Restaurant, Sign Pro 3-D Printing and Well Fit Nutrition Bar.

Our website explains more about the application process.

Well Fit Muscatine

What is the Building Improvements Loan Program?

It’s a loan program that assists property owners in Muscatine’s downtown in making improvements to their buildings and properties. The program was born out of the need to stretch grant dollars for a specific downtown project so it could design, construct or upgrade the rear sides of a select few downtown buildings to take advantage of riverfront views that exist.

CBI Bank & Trust, Community Bank and First National Bank of Muscatine are committed to the City of Muscatine’s downtown and have set aside $1,000,000 for this loan program.

Property owners will first work with City of Muscatine staff to detail the improvements to be completed with a building improvement plan. With the City’s approval, applicants can approach the three lending institutions to secure funds for their improvement project. Loans will receive a fixed rate at 1% below prime for the first three years with a variable adjustable rate thereafter for a term no longer than 10 years. The initial district for these loans will run 12 City blocks. The loans will be a minimum of $5,000, and borrowers will still be subject to the banks normal credit standards.

Most improvements are eligible; however, there are some improvements that are ineligible such as signage, inventory or modifications that take away from the historic character of the property and historic district.

Visit our website to learn more about the application process.

Rose Bowl Muscatine

What role can you as a community member play in this? 

If you have a current or potential business that would meet the loan requirements, then we encourage you to apply. If you know someone who would like to start a small business, then point them in our direction. We can discuss some of the ways for the City to come alongside them in their endeavor.

Everyone can vote for Muscatine to receive the Strong Communities Award.

Winning this award would mean additional funding for Muscatine’s Small Business Creation Project.

We appreciate your support of Muscatine and the initiatives that are making our community a better place to live, work and play!