Waterloo to be Honored by Federal Agency

Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart today announced that the City will receive the 2018 Audrey Nelson Community Development Achievement Award from the National Community Development Association (NCDA) for its innovative use of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding on the Grand Crossing development project.

The award will be presented during the NCDA’s Winter Conference Friday Jan. 26 in Washington. Mayor Hart and Rudy D. Jones, Director of Waterloo Community Development, will be in Washington to receive the award.

The Grand Crossing project provides a total of 68 new rental units, including 36 designated as low-income units. The newly constructed low-income units are significantly superior to majority of existing low-income housing. Most of the existing inventory is made up of poorly maintained, older homes pre-dating 1978. Many also have lead hazard issues. This project is a model project for future development in the Waterloo.

“These new, high-quality units are a significant boost to our affordable housing inventory. They also demonstrate to developers that demand exists for these types of projects,” says Rudy Jones, Director of Waterloo Community Development. “ It is an excellent example of successful low-income and market rate mixing as they reduce stigma and raise the standard of affordable housing in the community.”

“When we help provide safe, affordable, comfortable housing, we bring stability to our children, security to our seniors, a hand up to those striving for a better life, and a sense of pride in our people. Waterloo does this and more by providing innovative solutions to housing challenges thanks in part to Community Development Block Grant funding,” says Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart. “CDBG is an excellent example of federal-local partnership that directly and significantly improves the quality of life of real people, bringing the American dream one step closer for many.”

This is the second award for this project, having received the HousingIowa Award from the Iowa Finance Authority in September of 2017.

The project is located on a Brownfield environmental site, previously home to a deteriorated hotel. Echo Development Group and Vandewalle and Associates, a regionally based design firm, worked closely with the City to develop a use and design that is in step with the goals and vision of Waterloo’s downtown master plan. The result is an environmentally friendly building in compliance with Iowa Green Street Guidelines, as well as HVAC SAVE, RESNET certification, and HERS ratings.

The Grand Crossing project used a variety of both public and private funding sources. The City of Waterloo awarded CDBG Disaster Recovery Housing Funds from the Iowa Economic Development Authority. The total CDBG funds used were approximately 30% of the total project costs. The project also utilized a Brownfield Tax Credit due to the use of a Brownfield environmental site. The remainder of the funding was a mix of both private loans and equity provided by Dahlstrom Real Estate, LLC.

Waterloo has been in partnership with the CDBG since 1976, helping thousands of low income families and/or people with rehab and emergency repairs. Some additional ways Waterloo has distributed CDBG dollars into the community include: emergency repairs for income eligible clients; ramps for handicapped or disabled persons; to Consumer Credit Counseling services; Northeast Iowa Food Bank; Salvation Amy for emergency shelter operations; Operation Threshold weatherization programs; Leisure Services park and sidewalk projects; Eye of the Needle transportation, hygiene, household and laundry needs; to the Boys and Girls Club for updates, House of Hope, and the NorthEast Iowa Center for Independent Living.


Audrey Nelson was the first Deputy Executive Secretary of NCDA. She grew up in an inner city Chicago neighborhood which was a target area for the local Model Cities Program. Her intense commitment to her neighborhood, her local program efforts, and her drive to serve low-income people was cut short by death from cancer at the age of 29. NCDA is proud to honor the memory of Audrey through these awards.

In 1987, NCDA established the Audrey Nelson Community Development Achievement Award to recognize exemplary uses of the CDBG Program and the partnerships between local governments and non-profit organizations to assist low- and moderate-income persons. The award has been expanded in recent years to include projects funded with the HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program, Neighborhood Stabilization Program, and other funding sources.

For more information about the Grand Crossing project contact Rudy Jones, Community Development Director, City of Waterloo by calling (319) 291-4429 or by email to Rudy.Jones@Waterloo-IA.org. You may also contact Justin Bolger, Grand Crossing Developer, by calling (319)231-8187 or by email to justinjbolger@gmail.com.