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IC Talking About Distributing Grants

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS2/FOX28)- Iowa City is held a public hearing meeting Tuesday to gather community feedback on where to distribute federal grant money they recieved as part of the community develpment block grant program.

The program provides communities with resources to address development needs and to support local non-profits and new business owners.

Organizers of the meeting are looking for ways to use that money.

Last year, Carrie Van Ordan only dreamed of owning a fitness studio.

"It's the most rewarding thing I've done in my life," she said.

A dream that wouldn't be a reality without the community's help.

"Without the support of the city, I don't know where I'd be."

Dollars that go back into the community, "the funds primarily have to assist people with low to moderate income," Iowa city Community Develop Planner Tracy Hightshoe said.

Hightshoe said Iowa City is preparing to outline exactly where the federal grant money will go to help prioritize community needs.

"Every 5 years we plan how we are going to spend those federal funds." Hightshoe said. "That's about 1.1 million every year."

The grant money has also been used at the Crisis Center in Johnson County.

"We are so grateful and so thankful," Crisis Center Communications Coordinator Adam Sullivan said.

They purchased and renovated the 1105 building next door to the Crisis Center. The building is home for 4 non-profits.

The money has also been used for the emergency assistance program and staffing at the Crisis Center.

"We all pay federal taxes so it makes sense that some of that money ends back in the communities," Sullivan said.

And although the money goes straight to organizations like these, it ultimately helps individuals achieve personal goals.

"It's change my life," Paul Street said.

He works out at Max Effect and said he has dropped 50 pounds.

An accomplishment he said that has allowed him to be more active.

"It's allowed me to do some things in my life I haven't been able to before like mountain biking, snowboarding," Street said.

 And a way to give back to small businesses like Max Effect.

"I knew I had something new and different to bring to the community," Van Ordan said.

Max Effect will be celebrating their 1st year anniversay this September.

A draft will be available for public review in October. The final review will take place in December.

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