Waukee Kettlestone Project Denied $20 Million Grant

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WAUKEE, Iowa - As the City of Waukee's $91 million Kettlestone project makes advances this summer, officials are having to shuffle plans for funding the entertainment district of the development after the Iowa Economic Development Authority denied the city's request for a state grant.

Waukee sought $20 million from the state for a 25-acre entertainment district surrounding a pond as part of the larger Kettlestone development, which officials envision housing multiple districts of residential and commercial property. The district in question had plans to contain a 10,000-person ampitheater, as well as a 175-room hotel and convention center with event space.

The grant money comes from the state's Reinvestment District program, which would allow qualifying districts to utilize future tax dollars in those areas to finance new projects. In its second round of funding, the IEDA narrowed down eight applicants for the program's grant money to five, in the cities of Grinnell, Coralville, Mason City, Sioux City and Davenport. Each of those applicants will present their case for needing the grant money on May 21.

Waukee city officials say, while they are disappointed, plans are still on for the district in the Kettlestone development, though specifics may change.

"We think it's a great spot for an ampitheater, for the Central Iowa area. We also know that 15 acres is a lot to program, our hope now is just to go back to the drawing board, see what best fits Kettlestone, what best fits the region, and come up with a plan that works," said City Administrator Tim Moerman.