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.