In 1975, the EMA began with a vision of working to help meet human needs
and alleviating social and economic ills. In 1995, the EMA started hosting a series of
Community Summits, the purpose of which was to gather together leadership from the Federal,
State and Local levels for the purpose of community development on the east side of Waterloo.
Co-incidentally the Alliance was given abandoned buildings, located at the corner of East
Fourth and Adams Streets. One direct result of the Summit Meetings was that the EMA began
to look at ways in which it could utilize the donated property to provide opportunities and
hope for people in the area.
The EMA conducted a strategic planning process in an attempt to implement its
Mission Statement and to determine the best use of the property. The decision was made to
construct a new building a the location in which the community services could be offered. As a
result, a partnership with Tri-County Head Start emerged. Head Start secured a $267,000 Federal
grant to help jump start the project. The City of Waterloo was approached in 1996 with a request
to assist in the demolition of the abandoned and dilapidated buildings which had become a haven
for drug activity and other crimes. The EMA successfully applied for CDBG Funds to assist with
various aspects of the project.
Nonetheless, there were still significant hurdles to clearing title, as well as
the additional challenge of purchasing the house adjacent to the donated property. However, with
the assurance of space usage and financial support by Head Start and the knowledge that the City
was firmly committed to ensuring development of the site, the dilapidated buildings were finally
demolished and construction plans were undertaken.
EMA began its internal Capital Fund Drive in June 2001. The Capital Campaign Committee
was established in January 2002. Ground Breaking took place on September 17, 2002. Head Start moved
its offices into the completed Center on August 11, 2003 and EMA began its operations at the end of