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Drake partners with community to launch economic development program

Drake University is pleased to announce a statewide economic development competition in partnership with the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the Iowa Downtown Resource Center. Drake was chosen as the partner for this project among more than 24 different colleges and universities across the state.

The Downtown Economic Development Pilot Program Competition will aim to improve the economic viability of downtowns and urban neighborhood districts in selected communities throughout Iowa. The competition will begin accepting proposals on Friday, Sept. 19, 2014, and two communities will be selected for the pilot by early November.

“Drake University has a longstanding history of investing and supporting Iowa communities of which we are a part through an exceptional learning environment, economic impact, and a commitment to the common good,” says Mandi McReynolds, director of community engagement and service-learning at Drake University. “This competition allows the University to build on our history and expand our support of economic development across the state of Iowa. We are delighted to embark on this new partnership.”

Drake students, faculty, and staff from approximately 4–6 departments will converge on the two communities to research and develop recommendations based on local issues. Example projects include assistance with re-branding a downtown or neighborhood, designing a public art project, or environmental and sustainability planning.

“This is an excellent opportunity for communities across Iowa,” says Jim Engle, director of the Iowa Downtown Resource Center. “The assistance that talented Drake students and faculty will provide will get two worthy communities moving in the right direction with their downtown revitalization efforts.”

The IEDA will contribute $2,000 towards the project for each community. The remaining funds will need to be cultivated by the selected communities.

Drake and its partners encourage interested participants to submit their proposals as soon as possible. Communities will be notified of acceptance or denial by early November.

Visit Iowa Economic Development for more information, or contact Mandi McReynolds at mandi.mcreynolds@drake.edu or 515-271-2338.