Hometown Pride Communities
Photographer: William Benson of Carroll, IA
Counties and Communities Served
The Hometown Pride program has served the following Iowa counties and communities listed below, noted with the first year of their five-year commitment.
Interested in learning about our current Hometown Pride Community Coaches? Click here.
July 2012 to present
As Keep Iowa Beautiful’s flagship Hometown Pride Community, Pocahontas County is comprised of nine of communities in the northwest corridor of Iowa. They include Fonda, Gilmore City, Havelock, Laurens, Palmer, Plover, Pocahontas, Rolfe and Varina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 7,310.
Pocahontas County blends the unique attributes of its communities, families, individuals and businesses by working cooperatively to create a wholesome, diverse work and social environment. In 2016, the surrounding communities welcomed hundreds of thousands of RAGBRAI riders through its towns, showcasing hometown pride at its finest.
Throughout the five-year Hometown Pride coaching program, major achievements have been accomplished:
- The First Impressions Exchange Program was initiated in five of the nine Hometown Pride communities.
- Varina Hometown Pride Committee erected new playground equipment and picnic tables in Varina City Park.
- A Pocahontas County Trails Master Plan was completed by the Pocahontas County Trails Committee and approved by the Pocahontas County Board of Supervisors.
- County-wide County Trails Project and the County Art Project were formed with plans to deploy special projects.
- Painting of community buildings within five communities.
Pocahontas County Community Coach
August 2017 to present
Clinton County is located on the east side of Iowa bordering against the Mississippi River. The county is comprised of 18 townships and became a Hometown Pride Community in 2017, led by Francis Boggus.
Clinton County Community Coach
Francis O. Boggus
Cedar County and Delaware County
July 2021 to present
Keep Iowa Beautiful has announced a new partnership to expand KIB’s Hometown Pride program with the East Central Intergovernmental Association (ECIA), the Board of Supervisors of Delaware Counties, Cedar County Economic Development and 14 communities: Edgewood, Manchester, Delhi, Ryan, Dundee, Delaware, Hopkinton, Colesburg, Greeley, Earlville and Masonville, Mechanicsville, Stanwood, and Tipton.
Cedar County and Delaware County Couches
Grant Wood Mississippi River Region (Dubuque and Jackson Counties)
June 2017 to present
Keep Iowa Beautiful partnered with East Central Intergovernmental Association (ECIA) and Grant Wood Mississippi River Region (GWMRR) in July 2017 to add GWMRR Hometown Pride to the list of successful Hometown Pride programs. GWMRR includes Dubuque and Jackson counties.
GWMRR was initially established in 2014 as the State of Iowa’s pilot project for Parks to People. By partnering with KIB, communities in the region can build upon and grow the energy of Parks to People, which aligns with the goals of Hometown Pride. GWMRR has embarked on many planning strategies, projects, and events with plans of continuing and building upon this initial the energy.
Grant Wood Mississippi River Region (GWMRR) Community Coach
July 2017 to present
Warren County Hometown Pride is bringing people together to enhance their hometowns in rural Warren County and seven participating communities: Carlisle, Cumming, Hartford, Indianola, Milo, New Virginia, and Norwalk.
Warren County, located just south of the Des Moines metro, is the newest County to join Keep Iowa Beautiful’s Hometown Pride program. The program began in October 2017 as a partnership of the communities listed above, Warren County, and the Warren County Economic Development Corporation, with support from their “Community Coach,” Lorin Ditzler.
Warren County is home to nearly 50,000 people, and is one of Iowa’s top 5 fastest growing counties. The County offers a wide range of community environments, from rural to small town to suburban.
Warren County Community Coach
To learn more about Warren County Hometown Pride, visit our blog at www.warrencountyhometown.com
Benton, Johnson, and Linn Counties
September 2022 to present
Keep Iowa Beautiful is excited to announce the addition of 5 new Hometown Pride Communities: Walker, Springville, Shellsburg, Center Point, and Hills!
The cities will be under the leadership of Jessica Johnson, a Community Development Specialist at the East Central Iowa Council of Governments (ECICOG), a regional council of governments that serves communities in six eastern Iowa counties. Jessica has 15+ years of community development experience, including economic development, strategic planning, community visioning, tourism development, project implementation, fundraising and grant writing. She graduated from Mount Mercy University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing. Jessica lives in Cedar Rapids where she volunteers as a Czech Village/NewBohemia Main Street District executive board member, 100+ Who Care – Cedar Rapids Metro board chair, Leadership for Five Seasons Arts & Culture Day Committee member and United Way of East Central Iowa – Women United Steering Committee member.
Benton, Johnson, Linn County Community Coach
Past Hometown Pride Communities
November 2013 to December 2020
Located along the banks of the Nishnobotna and Missouri Rivers in the extreme southwest corner of Iowa, Fremont County became Keep Iowa Beautiful’s second Hometown Pride county in November 2013. The population of the county is 7,000. Two thirds of the residents live in the ten communities of Bartlett, Farragut, Hamburg, Imogene, Percival, Randolph, Riverton, Sidney, Tabor, Thurman and one third are rural residents.
264 citizens volunteered over 8,425 hours to work on community betterment projects. Successes include:
- Improving first impressions with new welcome signs, landscaping, murals and public art
- Enhancing quality of life with trails, new playground equipment, veterans memorials
- Eliminating nuisance and derelict properties with remodeling, painting or demolition.
- Engaging youth with hands on projects such as painting, planting and planning
- Developing leadership capacity through governance, grant writing and implementation skills
- Building new community endowments to leverage and sustain projects in the future
June 2015 to May 2020
The Sac County Hometown Pride program began in 2014. The county-wide program includes nine communities, the county and the county-wide economic development and tourism organization. The communities were: Auburn, Early, Lake View, Lytton, Nemaha, Odebolt, Sac City, Schaller, and Wall Lake. The population of the communities range from 80 to 2,100; the total population of Sac County is 10,021.
From the moment you enter Sac County, you are greeted with a bright array of Sac County Barn Quilts welcoming you. Known for its rich farmland, livestock industry, and good Midwestern work ethic, Sac County is home to a variety of business and industry. Tourism abounds around Black Hawk Lake in Lake View as we welcome over a quarter million visitors a year to enjoy the water activities, the campgrounds and you’ll make a “memory a mile” on the 33-mile Sauk Rail Trail.
The World’s Largest Popcorn Ball – certified by the Guinness Book of World Records, not once, but three times – highlights the area’s robust popcorn industry.
Some of the significant accomplishments were:
- Countywide projects and collaboration including Bike Around Sac County (BASC), county promotion at the Omaha Boat Sports & Travel Show, Leadership Training Series, and plans to initiate a clean-up of the Raccoon River
- New street signs installed in Early and Schaller
- Annual shoreline clean-up of Blackhawk Lake
- New planters on main street in Schaller and new flower baskets in business district of Wall Lake
- Annual “Paint Iowa Beautiful” grants for painting projects in Sac City and Auburn
- Community garden spaces in Lytton
- Build with Bags grants for benches along Raccoon River are for the canoe access in Sac City
- Significant fundraising for swimming pool improvements in Odeobolt
- Over $150,000 raised for construction of a splash pad in Lake View
- Plans under development to for trail connecting Auburn to Grant Park
April 2015 to March 2020
Jasper County became a Hometown Pride Community in 2015 and was coached by Jeff Davidson. Jasper County has a population of 36,000 and is directly east of the Des Moines metropolitan area. Natural highlights of the county include Lake Mariposa and Rock Creek. The nine Hometown Pride communities in this county were located about 30 minutes from downtown Des Moines.
• Prairie City
There are five well regarded public school districts in Jasper County, Baxter, Colfax-Mingo, Lynnville-Sully, Newton Community, and Prairie City-Monroe. Jasper County is also an easy commute to employment centers in Grinnell, Marshalltown and Pella.
For 100 years Jasper County was arguably the center of the washing machine industry as headquarters of the Maytag Corporation in Newton. Following the closing of Maytag in 2007, Newton has emerged as a leader in the wind power industry. Trinity Structural Towers and TPI Composites (wind blades) now employ over 2000 in Newton, exceeding Maytag employment at the time of its closing and helping to stabilize the economy in Jasper County.
Keep Iowa Beautiful continues to support the continued mission of the program in Louisa County.
Des Moines Capitol Neighborhoods
2014 to 2019
Capitol Neighborhoods of Des Moines was a Hometown Pride Community from 2014 to 2019 and was coached by Beth Hicks.
Capitol East, Capitol Park and MLK Jr. Park neighborhoods make up the Des Moines Capitol Neighborhoods with a diverse population of around 7,500. Residents, business owners and other key partners, including the Des Moines Police Department and Des Moines Public Schools, connected regularly through steering committee and work group meetings as well as project-specific planning. As part of the Viva East Bank! collaborative, this group focused on community building and programming, housing, public spaces and infrastructure and business communities to reach neighborhood goals approved by the City of Des Moines.