Attracting and retaining Millennials
Residents in Bellevue, Iowa, launched Community Heart & Soul with a focus on involving everyone in setting priorities to strengthen their town. The town received a $47,000 USDA Rural Business Development Grant to support the effort.
Attracting and retaining Millennials was seen as an opportunity for growth. Community Heart & Soul helped guide several actions aimed at drawing this group including:
• Studying childcare needs. Childcare is a vital component of drawing and retaining Millennials. Bellevue received a grant to join a study overseen by the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque.
• Restoring a historic building. A $100,000 state grant was awarded to start restoration of a former button factory that juts out over the river. (The buttons were punched out of clamshells from the river.)
• Creating opportunities for new housing. In response to a lack of residential housing, the city and the Bellevue Economic and Tourism Association purchased 50 acres for residential development.
• Encouraging residential development downtown. A new downtown incentive program incentivizes creating apartments in the vacant upper stories of downtown commercial buildings.