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Oelwein Event and Conference Center Project Awarded Power of Connection Grant

OELWEIN, Iowa (Oct. 26, 2022) – A local effort to refurbish and redevelop an historic downtown building into a multi-use event and conference center in Oelwein has received $5,000 through a Power of Connection grant jointly administered by ITC Midwest and the Iowa Rural Development Council (IRDC).

With the recent closure of the Oelwein Community Plaza, an innovative plan is being spearheaded by the non-profit Oelwein Event Corporation to transform a century-old building – originally the home of Allen Motors and Oelwein Implement Company – into an events center. The building is structurally sound, fully accessible with an elevator, and has enough floor space to handle large events with seating for more than 680 guests. The plan is to create two ballrooms and flexible meeting space to allow for small and large conferences and events with an industrial, yet modern feel. Market research indicates the facility could host more than 26,000 attendees annually, driving economic growth and community vibrancy. Fundraising is currently underway to support the $3.2 million initiative.

The Power of Connection grant program, launched in 2019 by ITC Midwest and IRDC, is intended to help fund feasibility studies, strategic planning, and non-construction/equipment elements of a rural project. In Oelwein, the funding will be used to offset engineering and planning costs associated with the project.

“When completed, the vision is to create a unique event experience for residents of Oelwein and the region,” said Oelwein Chamber and Area Development Executive Director Deb Howard. “Our goal is to make Oelwein an event and conference destination by hosting everything from weddings to conferences to private and corporate events. We are grateful to ITC Midwest and the IRDC for their partnership and for these grant dollars to support our project.”  

“Maintaining an attractive downtown area is important to promote vibrant rural communities. By investing in the renovation of the building to transform it into an event and conference center, the city of Oelwein will create new opportunities for growth and enhanced quality of life,” said ITC Midwest President Dusky Terry. “With this plan, it’s clear that Oelwein has leaders with the vision needed to ensure the community continues to thrive into the future.”

Communities eligible for the Power of Connection program must have populations of under 10,000 and be outside of a metropolitan area. Power of Connectiongrant dollars cannot be used for construction, real estate or equipment.

For more information about program details, contact IRDC Executive Director Bill Menner at director@iowardc.org or call 641-990-4757.

About ITC Midwest  
ITC Midwest LLC is a subsidiary of ITC Holdings Corp., the largest independent electricity transmission company in the U.S. ITC Midwest operates more than 6,600 circuit miles of transmission lines in Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois and Missouri, and holds utility status in Wisconsin. ITC Midwest is headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and maintains regional operating facilities in Dubuque, Iowa City and Perry, Iowa; and Albert Lea and Lakefield, Minnesota.  For further information visit www.itc-holdings.com. ITC is a subsidiary of Fortis Inc., a leader in the North American regulated electric and gas utility industry. For further information visit www.fortisinc.com.

About the Iowa Rural Development Council
The Iowa Rural Development Council is a non-profit public-private partnership featuring members ranging from federal agencies to utilities, universities and community colleges and for-profit entities.  The Council is a federal Farm Bill-authorized organization that seeks to empower rural communities and bring together partners to advance the interests of rural Iowa. 

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Media Contacts: 
Bill Menner, Executive Director, Iowa Rural Development Council 

director@iowardc.org or 641-990-4757

Rod Pritchard, Manager of Marketing and Communications, ITC Midwest
rpritchard@itctransco.com or 319-350-9255