$2.7M Family Resource Center project public forums

Error message

  • Warning: array_merge(): Expected parameter 1 to be an array, bool given in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 133 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property 'settings' of non-object in _simpleads_adgroup_settings() (line 343 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Warning: array_merge(): Expected parameter 1 to be an array, bool given in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 157 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in include() (line 24 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/templates/simpleads_ajax_call.tpl.php).

By Caroline Rosacker

The Guttenberg Economic and Industrial Development Committee (GEIDC) in cooperation with the Guttenberg Municipal Hospital & Clinic (GMHC) Family Resource Center (FRC) have been awarded a $2.7 million Iowa Innovation Non-Profit Assistance Grant.

GEIDC applied for the grant money in Sept. 2022 following Iowa Governor Reynold's announcement of $40 million in grant funding for 24 projects intended to expand services to help more Iowans. 

The grant money will be used to build a new structure on land purchased by GEIDC in 2011. The construction site is located on three vacant lots in the 500 block of South First Street, between the Guttenberg Municipal Building and the Guttenberg Brewery.  The new build will expand services for the Family Resource Center and Food Pantry, provide additional community meeting/training space, and allow for a second-floor expansion to meet future community needs.

Two public meetings were held at the Guttenberg Municipal building on Sept. 14 and 19, unveiling design ideas, and explaining project details. An opportunity for the public  to weigh-in on the project followed. 


GEIDC is a nonprofit group of volunteer members funded by donations and grants that identifies and meets the needs and support growth in Guttenberg and the surrounding area. 

Governing board members are Austin Coon, Andy Reimer, Howard Hubbell, Andrea Moser, Denise Schneider, William Kann, Jackie Lee and Tom Augustyn. They will be the directors and decision-makers for the new facility. 

"GEIDC reviewed at least five different types of projects with various groups for the available space," said Fidelity Bank & Trust market president and GEIDC member Austin Coon. "None of the projects were able to come to development stage due to lack of financial resources, or an unprofitable financial model." 

Phase one

The overall dimensions of the proposed building are 86' (east to west) and 60 ' (north to south) but are subject to change as the design is finalized. Phase one will meet the requirements of the grant and focus solely on expanding services to FRC. The basement will have two community spaces, which can be combined to hold up to 150 people. One space will have two kitchens for classroom training and group activities with more floor space for additional use. The other space will have technology for small to large group meetings. Either space can be utilized in multiple ways and will be available for public use. 

The first (ground) floor will house the Family Resource Center and Food Pantry to expand social service access in our communities. The second floor will be an empty shell developed as the community identifies needs and GEIDC partners with the entity for the next steps.  

Tara Chaney-Goldsberry, AIA-Architect for Veenstra & Kimm, Dubuque, designed the facility, and took into consideration the community's surrounding historic limestone and brick structures and their unique architectural features. She also designed the building to accommodate an additional floor if needed.

This is a large grant for a community the size of Gutttenberg to recieve.  "I am impressed Guttenberg was chosen for this amazing grant," said Steve Thompson, Vice President of Veenstra & Kimm, Dubuque. "It shows the community is committed to serving its residents and government officials recognize that fact." 


Parking in and around the building site has been a contentious topic in the past that will now be addressed. "The building project will provide 23 parking spaces for the downtown business district with the possibility of adding more pending landowner approval," says organizers.

Increasing demand

The Family Resource Center is a department of GMHC and serves all of Clayton County and surrounding counties through access to health and human services. This includes supportive services for seniors, a food pantry, space for agencies and groups to collaborate, agency resources, and programs for health and wellness, personal safety, food insecurities, transportation, housing, mental health and substance abuse. 

The Resource Center has seen a need for expanded services since the onset of the pandemic.  "We have assisted 14,000 Iowans in the past 24 months through 11 different agencies," noted FRC coordinator Kari Harbaugh. "That number is expected to grow to nearly 18,000 in the coming months. The current space has become too small to serve the needs of the region." 

Other benevolent organizations 

Clayton County residents are blessed to have three charitable organizations available: Shepherd of the Hills, Clayton County Food Shelf, and Family Resource Center. "Although all three provide some similar services (food, clothing, and rent/utility assistance) there is a large need in our communities for all three organizations, which strive close the gap and provide for those in need,” Harbaugh pointed out. “There may be some overlap, but the demand is high.”

Specialized service  provided by FRC

In addition to covering basic needs the Family Resource Center also assists individuals secure 

• Medical adaptive equipment 

• Child Support/childcare assistance/FIP/respite referral 

• Transportation (arrangements or referrals)

• SHIIP schedule and answer questions 

• Benefit/social service assistance

• Mental health support 

• Employment support/education 

• Financial support/education 

• Health care (insurance) 

•  Legal resources 

• Violence/sexual abuse advocacy referral 

• Elderly resources 

• School programs 

• Substance use support  

Police officer Kari Hoyheim, as a member of Clayton County’s Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), has utilized space at the Family Resource Center to interview survivors of sexual assault/ abuse, domestic assault/abuse and victims of violent crime. At the public forum, she addressed audience members saying, “I have been working with victims of abuse for the past ten years, and can testify that the current space the resource center is housed in does not provide a confidential area to conduct an investigation. Due to the sensitive nature of these cases, an area that has clients coming and going, children playing in the lobby, people stopping in for basic supplies, and other meetings going on simultaneously, does not provide a quiet space or anonymity.”  

Foster care

The Family Resource Center works in partnership with the Department of Human Services (DHS), hosts parental visits, and seeks to meet urgent and long-term needs of families in crisis. “The Resource Center takes pride in equipping parents to meet the needs of their families –  often despite very difficult circumstances,”  Harbaugh told The Press. “A 2023 study on foster care published in the Telegraph Herald indicated our local rate of kids in foster care is lower than neighboring counties. FRC is simply part of that effort to keep families together.”

Project costs

GEIDC will own and manage the facility. FRC, which will be considered a tenant of the building, is a department of GMHC, which will incur the cost for building rent, utilities, office supplies and staff.  Rental income received by GEIDC will be used to fund future economic development initiatives in the city of Guttenberg. 

The total project is anticipated to be $3.8 million and will be completed in late 2024. $2.7 million will be paid for by the grant and $1.1 million will be raised to support the project. 

Giving opportunity 

A fundraising committee was formed to assist with the project. Its members are Kathy Lansing, Pastor Harold McMilllIn, and Carolyn Hoffmann. “A capital campaign including grants and contributions from private donors is ongoing,” noted Coon. 

For questions, concerns, or to learn more contact Tim Ahlers, CEO Guttenberg Municipal Hospital (563) 252 1121, or Austin Coon, Guttenberg Economic Industrial Development Committee (563) 252-1493. to

Rate this article: 
No votes yet