BDG discusses Fundraising, Marketing and Highway Commissioners Meeting

Benton Development Group held their monthly Board of Directors meeting on August 27th in Urbana.




A fundraising update was presented to the board by Vice-President, Kristina Kremer and Director, Emily Upah. At the time of the meeting, four communities have donated to BDG. Together they explained when leaving business meetings they do not have definite donations because of the need to consult presidents or boards. They expressed with most conversations they have had thus far, they have received overwhelmingly positive feedback and our community leaders seem to be very excited with the direction BDG is taking.


Fundraising discussion led to how BDG was going to utilize part of the funds to be put back into our communities. The board unanimously agreed to contribute $300 to each community to be used for website creation, development, maintenance, or management.




Board member, Nathan Hessen, and Upah gave an update on the groups marketing strategy. The new website is live and they encouraged the board to once again visit to become acquainted with the site. They also encouraged attendees to spread they word about the calendar feature and blog pages. Examples of the beginning stages of the logo redesign were presented to the board. Their conversation contained great feedback for Hessen and Upah to take back to the graphic designer.


Highway 30 Commissioners Meeting


A report was given to update the board regarding the highway commissioners meeting in Cedar Rapids by Mayor Dave Fish and Upah. Fish, who was a presenter at the meeting, reported he felt the commissioners saw the problem with the highway and also saw the importance of getting the project back on schedule. He informed the group that discussion of the 218/30 intersection was not discussed but the commissioners would have a public meeting at a later date to discuss this interchange.


Upah updated the board on feedback she had received from Mary Jo Hainstock, also a presenter at the meeting. Hainstock felt the commissioners were very engaged in Benton County’s presentations and the commissioners also made it a point to have discussions with the Benton County group during their breaks. She felt it was very clear to the commissioners that Benton County was speaking in one voice and that voice primarily focused on economic development and the safety of the highway.


Upcoming Meetings


Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey, will be visiting the county of September 24th. He will be touring the Old School Produce in Vinton, the Franzenburg Farm in Van Horne, and Wallace Farms in Keystone.


BDG has invited the USDA to have a countywide meeting in October. The USDA suggested it would be most beneficial for Benton County to first have a general housing meeting to cover topics including: direct loan programs for purchasing homes, home repair programs, etc. This meeting will be held October 8th at 7:00pm in the Van Horne Community Center.


BDG will not have their monthly meeting in September, due to Sec. Northey’s visit. The next Board of Directors meeting will be held on October 29th, at the Van Horne Community Center.


Please remember all meetings are open to the public and community involvement is encouraged. Please contact Emily Upah at the BDG office if there are any questions.

Our Commitment

A goal of Benton Development Group is to reinvigorate, motivate, inspire, and propel each community in Benton County to places of continual excellence.  It was the groups belief that a process of reinvention was necessary to meet this goal. With a newly elected executive board and a fresh director, BDG is bursting with potential.  Together, with our communities, we will rise to the top because of our commitment to succeed.


Going forward BDG wants to be more visible in the communities and have an active role in each community’s success.  This is going to be done by attending City Council meetings to determine the needs of each community, speaking with business owners to see how we are able to assist their business, and by reaching out to perspective businesses looking to make Benton County their home.


As part of our reinvention process, the board also believed BDG could benefit from a new image.  We have been able to update our website to serve as a better resource for its visitors and increase the awareness of our organization.  The new site is more user-friendly and is a host of this blog, a calendar of events, community information, and BDG’s contact information.  BDG is also in the process of working with a graphic designer to create a new logo.  While those designs are not yet complete, we know the new logo will only improve BDG’s image.


My role here at BDG has started off on my exciting feet.  Within the first three weeks I have met many community leaders, spoke at several local lunch clubs, attended a number of workshops, and even had the opportunity to meet the Iowa Economic Development Authority Director, Debi Durham.  With every conversation I have had so far, I have heard nothing but enthusiasm about the direction BDG is headed.  I truly appreciate the encouraging words and look forward to working with each and every community to make Benton County a great place to live, work, shop, and play.


Benton Development Group’s New Website!

Hello and welcome to the new website of Benton Development Group! Please feel free to take a look around and see what we’re all about, we’ll have more good stuff coming your way soon!

Upcoming Events

5:30 pm Legion Fish Fry @ Van Horne Legion Hall
Legion Fish Fry @ Van Horne Legion Hall
Mar 2 @ 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Van Horne – Legion Fish Fry, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Van Horne Legion Hall.
9:00 am Urbana Farmer’s Markets @ Urbana Community Center
Urbana Farmer’s Markets @ Urbana Community Center
Mar 10 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am
When you buy locally in Urbana, IA, directly from Urbana area markets and farms, you help support your local Urbana economy. In return, you will get the freshest, best-tasting food available and help reduce the[...]
4:00 pm Norway Legion Fish Fry @ Legion Hall
Norway Legion Fish Fry @ Legion Hall
Mar 23 @ 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Norway Legion Fish Friday, 4 to 8 p.m., at the Legion Hall.

Benton Development Group
303 1st Ave
Vinton, IA 52349

Benton Development Group | 303 1st Avenue | Vinton, IA 52349 | (319)-472-5545 | Email:

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