Creating Great Places (CGP) promotes rural vitality through programs in rural arts, environmental protection, outdoor recreation, cultural diversity, and historic preservation.
Besides our own projects, we provide technical assistance in planning, communications, and development to other area public and non-profit organizations, including Whiterock Conservancy, the City of Coon Rapids, and Guthrie County.
* In 2009, CGP landed $355,000 in federal funding for Whiterock Conservancy to build a 22 mile internal trail system for mountain bikers and equestrians, and we just assisted them in securing an additonal $474,000 Fed Rec Trail grant, leaving this $900,000 project 85% funded.
* In Jan 2010, thanks to a grant written by CGP, Guthrie County was awarded a $365,000 State Transportation Enhancement Grant to begin to secure right of way for the trail from Herndon to Coon Rapids.
* In late 2010 the City of Coon Rapids was awarded a $15,000 Preserve America grant for historic preservation planning in the Coon Rapids area, to be led by CGP staff.
CGP director Rachel Garst began volunteering for local community development efforts in 2005. Over the next four years, she was directly instrumental in raising more than $6.5 million for local projects. These included a City-owned Assisted Living Facility, a seven-mile Whiterock trail loop, a City shelterhouse, a Whiterock visitor center, a County RV park bathroom, a county canoe launch, a major public art piece for the new Coon Rapids entry way street-scaping, a Spanish language and cultural assistant for the school, and an annual art fair.
Based on these successes, in 2008 CGP was organized as a formal Iowa non-profit. Since that time, we have secured major grants for a Guthrie County Trail, the Whiterock internal trail system, and have continued to assist Coon Rapids historic preservation efforts. CGP has also provided communications consulting for the Bosques Pico Bonito rainforest project in La Ceiba Honduras. CGP was the lead organization in the 2009 statewide "Khrushchev in Iowa" 50th Anniversary Commemoration, and also lent its support to the 2010 statewide Iowa Water and Land Legacy Campaign.
News & Press Releases
Whiterock Conservancy is advancing in planning for an internal sustainable trail system to be used by equestrians and mountain bikers. CGP provided Whiterock with free-of-charge technical assistance in raising over $800,000 in federal funds towards this project. Currently, botanists, geologists and archeologists are finishing the initial assessments to ensure that the trail is routed to both protect, and where warranted, highlight, Whiterock's unique assets.
Creating Great Places just inaugurated its most recent project, an outdoor performance stage located at lovely Riverside Park managed by Carroll County Conservation on the eastern edge of town. Mid-October, local musicans tried out the stage at an evening concert and pronounced it highly satisfactory. Area musicians are invited to come make use of this new perfomance option; reservations can be made through the Coon Rapids City Clerk.