State Treasurer of Iowa

Treasurer Fitzgerald Announced Vision Iowa Bonds Are Paid Off

August 25, 2020

DES MOINES, IA – State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald announced Iowa has paid off the Vision Iowa Bonds issued 20 years ago. “Vision Iowa was a program created to bolster tourism and recreation projects across the state and was funded through selling bonds,” said Fitzgerald. “Just as people celebrate ‘burning their mortgage’ when they pay off their house, we are celebrating Iowa making the last payment on these bonds in August.”

The Vision Iowa program was established in 2000 by Governor Vilsack. “Vilsack’s ‘Vision’ was to create public/private partnerships to fund large projects across Iowa,” Fitzgerald said. “We issued nearly $200 million in bonds to finance the projects, which required the injection of city, county and private funding to receive the state funds. These projects are truly a testament of the power of partnership between state and local communities.”

Governor Vilsack tapped Iowa businessman and journalist Michael Gartner, owner of the Iowa Cubs, as the chairperson of the Board that was tasked with determining the rules and distributing the funds. “The Vision Iowa program changed the face of Iowa in large and small communities across the state,” Gartner said. “The program is a testament to how one man’s great idea can have a great impact on an entire state. The bonds were leveraged to create over $3 billion in total projects across the state.”

The program provided state financial assistance to communities for the development of projects that benefited regional and statewide cultural, recreational, entertainment or educational activities. Vision Iowa projects included:

  • The Great River Gateway – Burlington and Des Moines County
  • The Cedar Valley River Renaissance Project – Waterloo/Cedar Falls
  • The Things to Do With a River Project – Clinton
  • The Mid-American Recreation and Convention Complex – Council Bluffs
  • The River Renaissance on the Mississippi project - Davenport
  • Science Center of Iowa, Pappajohn Sculture Park, and the Rediscovering the River projects – Des Moines and Polk County
  • The Great River Center and RiverMax Theater and America’s River project – Dubuque and Dubuque County
  • The Mason City. . .a Community on the March project – Mason City
  • The Bridge View Event Center – Ottumwa
  • The River’s Edge project – Sioux City
  • Project AWAYSIS – Storm Lake

To pay the bond payments, the state legislature earmarked $15 million annually from gambling receipts for twenty years.

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