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‘1000 Friends Of Iowa’ Receives $30,000 EPA Grant for Smart Growth Assessment In Des Moines

Release Date: 03/23/2006
Contact Information: Kathleen L. Fenton, (913) 551-7874,

Environmental News


EPA has awarded a $30,000 grant to “1000 Friends of Iowa” for a Smart Growth assessment and education project in the Des Moines metropolitan area.

EPA’s grant will allow the organization to study and analyze zoning codes and subdivision ordinances from 15 communities in and around Des Moines and assess whether existing regulations incorporate Smart Growth principles.

EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford said, “Current development projects should consider the best ways, the Smart Growth ways, to protect our environment.”

1000 Friends of Iowa’s board president, Laura Belin, said Smart Growth training for local officials, developers, and consultants will be provided. They will learn how well their zoning codes and subdivision ordinances conform to Smart Growth principles and what additional policy tools are available to promote smarter growth.

“We are thankful to EPA and thrilled with this opportunity to work with local communities and Iowa State University,” Belin said.

Smart Growth tries to address adverse environmental effects of the more common kinds of community development. Issues such as loss of habitat, destruction of wetlands, loss of water quality in streams and rivers, and increasing air pollution can be addressed by applying Smart Growth community development standards and principles.

Census figures show that Des Moines is slowly losing population while suburban areas around Des Moines are experiencing rapid population growth and an increase in developed land. Such suburban development can lead to a loss of inner city tax base, inefficient use of infrastructure, and abandoning less-desirable properties, known as brownfields.

At the same time, growing suburban communities experience a loss of open space, an increase in hard (cement) surfaces that cause water runoff, and increased reliance on automobiles, which can harm water quality and increase air pollution.

1000 Friends of Iowa is a statewide not-for-profit organization. Its mission is, “to promote responsible development of land that conserves and protects agricultural and natural resources within the state of Iowa.”

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