The Cedar Valley TechWorks is a step closer to becoming the physical location of an advanced manufacturing hub for the region and state, organizers announced Tuesday.

Nearly $4 million in state funding was included in the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) appropriations budget for improvements to the 30-acre research and development center, located in downtown Waterloo.


The Cedar Valley Techworks is part of a $50 million downtown redevelopment project announced in January that will include a 100-room hotel, a restaurant complex and green office space.


The bulk of the state funds will be used for improvements in the Tech 1 building of the campus. The investment will provide additional space room for new businesses and educational programs, said Cary Darrah, general manager of Cedar Valley Techworks.


The IEDA's Iowa Innovation Council, which will administer the funds, worked with the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber to establish the campus as the designated site for the hub.


The appropriation will also enable the University of Northern Iowa to purchase a three-dimensional printer to fabricate on-demand component molds to support advanced manufacturing projects in collaboration with TechWorks.


Jerry Thiel, director of UNI's Metal Casting Center, said he is optimistic that the expansion will benefit manufacturers statewide.


"The capabilities of having technology like this will undoubtedly increase the overall competitiveness of Iowa manufacturers by allowing them to deliver products to the market at an unprecedented rate," he said in a release.


For more information about the center, click here.