Business, Free News Articles, Government, Manufacturing

South Central Iowa Community Steps Up to Support Senior Care Center

OSCEOLA, Iowa -- Since the WHO announced the Coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic status in early March, long-term care facilities have been on the front lines of the health and safety battle, notes the Clarke County Development Corporation (CCDC). With senior citizens being some of the most "at risk" from the virus, the need for protective gear - from essential N95 hospital-grade face-masks to personal protective equipment (PPE), like gloves and gowns - have been in high demand and access has been limited. That's where the manufacturing community in Clarke County and Osceola, Iowa stepped up.

Earlier in the week, the Clarke County Development Corporation (CCDC) started working with the staff at Southern Hills Specialty Care facility in Osceola to procure additional essential supplies to help with the safety and protection of their 89 senior residents. Asking for donations or additional support from the manufacturing industry, Bill Trickey, Executive Director of the CCDC and Destiny Boeve, Administrator for Southern Hills were able to collect a generous supply of masks as well as some other essential items.

Altec's Osceola body plant was instrumental in donations, providing 3,000 latex gloves for the facility. And SIMCO Drilling Equipment, Inc, donated a surplus of high-grade masks and gloves as soon as the call was made.

"Having been part of the Osceola and Clarke County community for decades, we simply wanted to help wherever we could," said Darren Swolley, General Manager at SIMCO. "These are the times when community means more than ever."

Other local businesses, including Cathy's Auto Body and Cactus Farms, were also quick to join in the roundup of supplies. The team at Boyt Harness donated thousands of masks from their Missouri plant to hospitals and facilities in need there.

"This is what makes my job such a pleasure," said Trickey. "When the community is in need, our business network knows how to deliver."

Southern Hills staff members, residents, family members and friends alike have joined together to help with the cause, sewing from mask templates for residents and staffers to use while other donation efforts are in the works. Boeve's own grandmother, Kathy Klein sewed 100 masks for the staff and is working on washable gowns for the program. Southern Hills staffer and CNA, Amy Allen brought her seamstress talents back in her off hours just to help with the production as well.

With the influx of masks and gloves, the need for other safety materials has become a priority. Materials for sewing additional masks as well as gowns and other PPEs are still needed to help the staff properly care for the residents.

"We couldn't be more blessed," said Boeve. "Our community really knows how to come together in a time of crisis."

Boeve went on to stress the need for basic sewing materials like needles and thread for additional masks for mending gowns. And the donation of more N95 masks, gowns, or PPEs remains on the priority list for the foreseeable future.

If you have access to the items needed for the care of the residents at Southern Hills or have items you can donate, please reach out to Destiny Boeve at Southern Hills Care Center, 444 N W View Drive, Osceola, IA 50213, phone: 641-342-6061.

Learn more about the Clarke County Development Corporation (CCDC):

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Business, Free News Articles, Government, Water and Wastes

Osceola City Council Green Lights Contractor Bidding On New Wastewater Plant

OSCEOLA, Iowa -- The Osceola City Council has approved a schedule for taking bids on construction of the updated wastewater treatment facility. A recent pre-bid meeting brought in a handful of interest, but with design and budgeting finalized, the City is now able to open the call for bids to contractors interested in undertaking the project.

As far back as 2010, new EPA regulations as well as the continued growth of Osceola itself made the need for modernizing and updating the wastewater treatment unavoidable. According to the EPA, the acceptable limits of certain water constituents were lowered, making the current water treatment plant incapable of meet the new regulations. After many years of research, studies, plans and financial estimates, the project is ready to move forward by beginning the contractor selection process.

The projected timeline for the new wastewater treatment plant's construction is scheduled roughly to take two years, then the repurposing of the current facility is slated to take another two years. All of this will be done before the project is finalized or costs are realized. At this time, total projected costs for the new plant is estimated to be just under $30 million dollars.

A large portion of that cost - roughly 47% - is being covered through a partnership with Osceola's major industrial contributors. The balance will be financed through the State Revolving Fund Loan via the Iowa Finance Authority. Utility payers will pay their proportionate share through minor updates, not expected to exceed the standard cost of living rate over the next several years.

While the updated treatment facility will meet EPA demands, increase treatment capabilities, as well as offer expansion to support future economic growth, several other benefits to the updates will be realized. Significantly, the city of Osceola was recently awarded a $2.4 million grant designated to fund projects which improve the quality of stormwater runoff. Their eligibility to even apply was granted through the planned wastewater treatment plant updates and the use of a State Revolving Fund Loan. Using this grant, green practices such as pervious pavers and intakes designed to separate debris from stormwater runoff will be incorporated in the downtown area, further improving water quality throughout the community.

In addition to better wastewater management, compliance and water runoff quality, the City of Osceola has recently taken on ownership of the local golf course wherein new wastewater treatment facility will allow for additional money-saving strategies.

"No pun intended, but we're 'teeing ourselves up' to be able to take advantage of the new graywater system so we can irrigate the municipal golf course," said Ty Wheeler, Osceola City Administrator. "While it's not part of the current plans for the treatment plant, we are expecting future strategies like this to save the city money and facilitate business and community growth."

Once completed, the updated treatment plant will not only increase flow capacity of the wastewater that's taken in, but will also see increased capacity in the treatment of the constituents found within that flow. Updates will ensure the city's compliance with DNR and EPA regulations for several decades to come.

"We have big plans for future growth of the City," said Wheeler. "These updates open us to increasing new businesses opportunities and more residents far into the future."

If you are interested in submitting a bid for this project, please read specifications, deadlines, and all other pertinent information on the Osceola, Iowa Web site at:

For more information about the wastewater treatment plant project, contact Ty Wheeler, Osceola City Administrator, via email, by calling 641-342-2377, or by visiting the administration offices at 115 N. Fillmore St., Osceola, IA 50213.

*IMAGE link for media:
*Image caption: Expansion plans more than double the footprint of the current wastewater treatment plant.

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Business, Construction and Building, Economic Development, Free News Articles, Government, Real Estate

Free Land Incentives Hope to Spur on Spring New Home Construction

OSCEOLA, Iowa -- Spring is finally here and with it comes the start of the building season. Families are looking to build new homes, developers are looking for prime real estate, and contractors are itching to get back in the field after a long, hard winter. As part of an ongoing housing development initiative, Clarke County Development Corporation (CCDC) has been working with the city of Osceola to offer home builders and developers shovel-ready sites at no cost for residential projects.

The initiative also extends reimbursements on interest for construction loans for up to a 12-month period. The CCDC launched this Zero-Cost Land Development initiative in 2017 as an effort to capitalize on the recent growth trends and development throughout south-central Iowa. While tax abatements and other incentives are offered throughout the state, the concept of Zero-Cost Development offers builders and developers a bigger opportunity for establishing profitable programs throughout the city.

The workforce in Iowa is experiencing unprecedented low unemployment, making businesses work harder to attract the best and the brightest qualified employees. CCDC and the city of Osceola are working together to help provide a big incentive for local businesses offering executive, management, and long-term employment candidates custom housing solutions. Local affordable housing programs such as Kading Properties' Meadows Development have been a huge success and there is plenty of opportunity for developers to meet the needs of those looking for more.

"Development land in the Des Moines Metro area can set builders back $80,000 to $200,000 per lot or more," said Bill Trickey, Executive Director of Clarke County Development Corporation. "Osceola is close to metro amenities with a quality of life you can't find in larger cities. Continuously developing and improving, the city offers a sense of community and safety among neighbors, providing peace of mind for growing families."

Osceola's major benefits include over 4,600 non-farming jobs, a quality school district advanced beyond some suburban Metro schools, and several quality of life developments like an expanding trail system, improved city parks, lakes and land for hunting, fishing and limitless outdoor recreation. City officials and the CCDC hope the Zero-Cost Land Development initiative will continue to strengthen neighborhoods and encourage families to call Osceola home.

If you're a builder looking for a low-cost entry into a competitive market, contact Bill Trickey at the Clarke County Development Corporation at or 641-342-2944 to learn more about the Zero-Cost Development initiative.

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Business, Economic Development, Free News Articles, Government, NonProfit and Charities

CCDC Celebrates 50 Years of Community Commitment and Success

OSCEOLA, Iowa -- This year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Clarke County Development Corporation (CCDC). In August of 1969, the development corporation that has brought Osceola and Clarke County, Iowa numerous business and economic successes including Jimmy Dean and Hormel as well as the boon of Lakeside Casino all started from the passion of a few locals ready to push the community they loved toward a brighter future.

The original founders and board members included Eddy Saylor, Fred Wood, L.P. Van Werden, Jack Jeffreys, Ross Gould, Stan Samuelson, Gerald Edwards, and Donald Ramsey.

These founders developed a plan that would form an economic development corporation focused on attracting new business, supporting existing area business, and improving the quality of live for the entire community.

Making sure to build the corporation on a not-for-profit, 501(c)(6) structure meant the corporation, with a board of directors made up of active local businesses and citizens, would work together to drive local and regional economic growth. The elected board would operate on behalf of the existing business and community members maintaining accountability to its core values, the members and the community. This structure has been at the core of its operations since its founding.

"A lot can happen over five decades," said Bill Trickey, CCDC Executive Director. "When you have a board and membership as consistently driven for success and growth as we've had with the CCDC, what transpires is economic sustainability."

Right out of the gate, the CCDC board took action to purchase and break ground for development of an 87-acre industrial business park on the south side of the city. Over the next decade, the board recruited businesses such as Osceola State Bank, Metal Craft Engineering (Now SIMCO Drilling Rigs & Equipment, Inc.), and Jimmy Dean Meat Company as the first tenants. Throughout the 70's and early 80's additional businesses moved in and the necessary infrastructure was developed made up of a water tower and another 68 acres with sewer and street construction. Today many of Clarke County's anchor employers like Altec (originally Furnas and then Astoria), Salford Manufacturing (previously Maclander), Osceola Foods (Hormel) and SIMCO do business from this park, serving customers all over the world.

Understanding the logistical blessings of Osceola, Iowa - placed at the intersection of I-35, Highway 34 and Highway 69, as well as a local stop to the BNSF Railway - made the addition of an airport and improvements to interstate access a logical next step in drawing more business and industry to the area. The CCDC board acted on those activities through the 80s and 90s, even while some of the nation's biggest cities and rural areas were struggling with hard economic times.

In the 90s, upon hearing the city council in Des Moines, Iowa was passing on the addition of a casino to the south side of its downtown, board President Eddy Saylor and other CCDC members decided to take on the recruitment of Lakeside Casino Resort for Clarke County. Through aggressive campaigning driven by a passion for development and progress, the deal was made to break ground for the riverboat on West Lake late in 2000 with The Development Corporation securing the gambling license. This would prove to be a "game changer" for the entire area.

"The casino was a big shot in the arm for the area," said Helen Kimes, CCDC Board Member and past president. "With the county and the cities of Murray and Woodburn sharing the profits made from the boat, development opportunities in the area were given an incredible boost."

Since the addition of the casino, grant opportunities through the Development Corporation have made a positive impact across Clarke County. This included updates to the Clarke County Hospital in the early 2000s, with further renovations and expansion over the last few years. Clarke County continues to benefit from the CCDC grants, allowing the hospital to provide award-winning emergency services and medical care. Community programs like Tech Prep Housing, Paint the Town Red, Safe Routes to School with miles of recreational trail expansions, Neighbors Helping Neighbors, and the support for The Village Daycare continue to improve the quality of life in Clarke County.

With the addition of the E. Eddy Saylor Industrial Park for businesses like Osceola Farm and Home, Boyt Harness, Alliant Energy, and Iowa Steel, employment opportunities have increased, as have contributions to the county's tax base, keeping the vision of the original founders like Eddy Saylor moving forward.

With thousands of jobs created for the county since its inception in 1969, the Clarke County Development Corporation shows no sign of slowing. Expansions for the Saylor Business Park this year as well as closing in on the development of the Clarke County Reservoir mean even more opportunities to bring business and growth to the area can be seen on the horizon. So, join the CCDC, their board, and members in celebrating this half century milestone and wish them luck for the next 50 years.

If you have questions about the Development Corporation or would like to participate as a member, contact Bill Trickey, Executive Director at the Clarke County Development Corporation, 115 E Washington St, Osceola, IA 50213, Phone: (641) 342-2944, email:

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Business, Construction and Building, Free News Articles

South Central Iowa Manufacturer Digs Into Storm Safety

OSCEOLA, Iowa -- Osceola, Iowa's SIMCO Drilling Equipment, Inc. took steps this week to address the risks surrounding dangerous weather - specifically tornado incidents like those seen in Pella and the Vermeer plant recently. With over two dozen employees housed in a steel-frame building, along with tons of manufacturing equipment, you can imagine what a similar incident would do to SIMCO, manufacturer of drilling rigs for water wells, geothermal drills, geotech soil sampling, and roadway pavement core drills.

"We identify whole-heartedly with the Vermeer team. The Pella tornado disaster opened my eyes to the need to address storm safety here at SIMCO," said Darren Swolley, General Manager for SIMCO Drilling Equipment, Inc. "We want to take every precaution possible to ensure the safety of our employees."

The three cellar-style shelters were dug in and placed, side-by-side, into the SIMCO property outside the main building. Each consists of steel reinforced concrete walls, roof, and floor measuring approximately 10-feet x 7-feet x 7-feet. Each storm shelter will keep up to 18 people safe during a storm emergency. The units, manufactured by Midwest Storm Shelters, LLC near Joplin, Missouri, who has seen its own tornado troubles, were delivered to the SIMCO location in Osceola, Iowa and installed Tuesday. The SIMCO team, with help from Osceola's Andrew Construction Company, had the site prepared and completed the installation the same day.

Steve Jurshak, Chief engineer at SIMCO Drilling Equipment, Inc. said, while preparing the site for installation, "We hope we will never have to use these storm shelters, but feel better knowing we are keeping our employees safe."

About SIMCO Drilling Equipment:

For over 45 years, SIMCO Drilling Equipment, Inc. has manufactured drilling rigs, fabricated custom equipment and provided parts and service for water well drilling, geothermal drilling, and other drilling operations around the globe. As the company continues to grow and service an even wider range of drilling rigs, safety practices like this will ensure the well-being of their team.

For more information about the tornado shelter's installation and SIMCO Drilling Equipment, Inc., contact Darren Swolley, General Manager at 800-338-9925, or go to

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