CCDG connects county communities

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/
  • 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/
  • 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/
  • 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).

The former laundromat and the house to the north were properly dismantled and disposed of thanks to the CCDG, who partnered with the Regional Housing Trust Fund to help secure funding for the removal of derelict buildings, a program Guttenberg utilized on three separate occasions. (Press photo by Austin Greve)

By Caroline Rosacker

The Clayton County Development Group (CCDG) is on a mission to enhance opportunities for the creation of wealth for the citizens of Clayton County through the promotion of agriculture, industry and tourism. CCDG is building strong profitable economic businesses through cooperation and education, creating a destination for quality recreation and tourism and providing a quality of life that promotes public investment. 

CCDG, which acts as a hub to help connect, inform and promote Clayton County, has forged ahead and remained strong in its efforts to make our rural communities a great place to live, work and play. Board members are John Finley, president; Don Oster, agriculture representative; Robert Hauber, vice president; Cathy Denning, treasurer; Steve Hanson, utility representative; Lanny Kuehl, at large; Jackie Opperman, at large, Amy Speed, at large and Sharon Keehner, Clayton County Supervisor. 

Business and industry assistance

The development group's long list of services includes training workshops, low interest revolving loan funds, and one-on-one business consultation for small business owners. They hired a drone operator to film area housing sub-divisions to promote housing development, and industrial parks to attract potential manufacturers. 

CCDG is committed to closing the gap between students and employers through industry tours and company representation at hosted events at local schools. They also created "Wow Who Knew" radio announcements, sharing the best of Clayton County Businesses on their accomplishments and workforce needs. 


The CCDG met Upper Mississippi Gaming Corporations (UMGC) requirements to form a county-wide marketing team to submit one grant per year for funding. The team will bring communities together to network, promote each other, and market the area together creating larger visibility. 

Each year development members design and distribute a county-wide brochure highlighting community amenities, promote bus and coach tours through itinerary planning, provide a list of events for each town and uses several social media accounts to promote area attractions.

CCDG works in partnership with the Eastern Iowa Tourism Association and Iowa Tourism Team, attending education workshops to assist with cooperative marketing ideas. 

Community development and agriculture

In 2022, CCDG will identify housing needs through a County-Wide Housing Needs Assessment. They currently partnered with the Regional Housing Trust Fund to secure funding for the removal of derelict buildings, a program that was utilized in Guttenberg on three separate occasions. They have met the requirements and are partnering with Home Based Iowa (HBI), a program that promotes veteran relocations to Clayton County.

The organization promotes the Clayton County Foundation for the Future and markets the grant-funding program to non-profits in the county. It supports area Farmers Markets through poster distribution and links community events through The CCDG also connects with legislators to share information on rural Iowa needs. 

"It is always a pleasure to work together to promote each other and your communities," says CCDG Executive Director Darla Kelchen. "Clayton County has 17 communities none of which are over 2,000 in population, working together is vital for growth and sustainability.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet