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Local

Boomerang’s one step closer to $5,000 Dream Big Grow Here grant

Winning project will be eligible for additional $10,000 EntreFest grant

Dana Simbro’s dream for a family entertainment center in Newton took another big step forward this week. Boomerang’s was the “wild card” selection for a $5,000 grant from The Innovation Gateway and the University of Northern Iowa.

“My dream is to open a new business that will include inflatables, bumper cars, laser tag, laser maze, and an arcade,” she said in her pitch for the grant program. “The business would have a party room (one of only a few in the area) to accommodate our community.”

Simbro said there is not another entertainment business similar to Boomerang’s within 50 miles. She projects it will bring customers to Newton and keep them in town, perhaps generating more spending for the local economy.

“This is a business that will promote and encourage spending in other Newton businesses,” she said. “This business will be the only location that can provide multiple venues of entertainment options for parties and family outings.”

Boomerang’s will go up against four other regional winners during a pitch session that begins at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13. In the initial voting round, it finished seventh, but was picked by the Dream Big Grow Here developers.

The top four regional vote-getters of the Dream Big Grow Here program were:

• Red Ribbon Bakery, Knoxville

• Iowa River Brewing Company, Marshalltown

• After Hours Archery, Oskaloosa

• Debbie’s Celebration Barn, Oskaloosa

The winner of the pitch contest will receive $5,000 and will be among the entries for the $10,000 grant offered through the EntreFest Conference next year. Simbro said any grant money received would go toward purchasing equipment for Boomerang’s.

“Voting for this DREAM will be a vote for a business that genuinely wants to help the City of Newton and the families in this area,” she said.

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