The Ottumwa Courier

March 27, 2014

Villages of Van Buren receives economic development award

Ottumwa Courier

---- — KEOSAUQUA — Iowa Area Development Group (IADG), honored the Villages of Van Buren and Executive Director Stacey Reese with the Silver Shovel Award at the Villages of Van Buren’s Annual Meeting Tuesday.

The Silver Shovel Award honors outstanding leadership, innovation and achievement in business and community development. In presenting the award, Rand Fisher, president of IADG, highlighted numerous accomplishments of the Villages of Van Buren. Fisher recognized their comprehensive approach to economic development in leading tourism, business development and community philanthropy efforts.

The Villages of Van Buren tourism efforts generate tens of thousands of visitors annually who are seeking a relaxing experience in a community touted as “a world left untouched by time.” Recognition for the Villages of Van Buren tourism accomplishments include being awarded the Iowa Tourism County of the Year seven times, most recently the 2013 Iowa Tourism Award for Outstanding Promotional Materials.

Stacey Reese, executive director of The Villages of Van Buren, Inc., has successfully led this united county effort for 15 years and held many leadership roles in local, regional and statewide organizations. Reese is also involved in ongoing support of the Keosauqua Light & Power Revolving Loan Fund (RLF), which was originally established through a USDA Rural Economic Development Grant secured by Southern Iowa Electric Cooperative. This RLF supports countywide business and community projects. The Villages of Van Buren was nominated for the award by Southern Iowa Electric Cooperative.

The Silver Shovel Award also brought with it a $1,000 contribution from the Iowa Area Development Group Community Foundation. The financial award will allow the Villages of Van Buren to strengthen its support to the businesses and communities of Van Buren County. The IADG Community Foundation was established to facilitate community based philanthropy throughout rural Iowa, promote entrepreneurship and advance economic development.

The Silver Shovel Award was established to recognize significant accomplishments of our rural development partners. IADG was established in 1985 to help its utility sponsors and their communities promote and foster economic development. The organization and its utility sponsors have been instrumental in facilitating more than 1,900 projects, $9 billion in investment and creating more than 50,000 jobs for rural Iowa.