Wednesday, May 3, 2023
Clinton/IISC council chambers
Students in the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities speak with Clinton community members about their housing needs and assessment strategies designed for the community. (photos by Cale Stelken)  

On Thursday, May 4, the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC) capped off its year-long partnership with the community of Clinton, Iowa.

The day began with presentations given by University of Iowa students to local representatives and community members of Clinton. This included housing needs assessment and strategies and a master plan for the Liberty Square District, presented in the City Hall Council Chambers;  a development of city property (in-fill development) presentation at City Hall; and addressing the opioid epidemic in collaboration with the Clinton Substance Abuse Council and the Clinton Police Department.

IISC director Travis Kraus presented student Mae McDonough the 2022-2023 Excellence and Service Award, Rick Fosse the Faculty Excellent and Service Award, and the City of Clinton for Outstanding Community Partner. The closing reception also included a screening of a short documentary film by Arman Hodasefat, an MFA student in Cinematic Arts. Hodesafat created the film about the preservation of the historic Bethel AME Church in Clinton.

Clinton/IISC celebration
Clinton community members observe strategies presented by the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities during a reception commemorating IISC's partnership with the city.

University of Iowa classes worked on more than 20 projects for the 2022-2023 partnership, including histories and profiles of noted Clintonians, past and present; a housing needs assessment; and a masterplan for use of a current undeveloped swath of land. The city presented IISC with a rich array of potential projects and has strong leadership to help guide the process. IISC first collaborated with Clinton through the regional partnership with East Central Intergovernmental Association (ECIA)

The projects spanned different departments and colleges. During the summer of 2022, UI MFA student Sean Tyler completed a mural called "Keeping You Sewing." All year, a group of students from the School of Planning and Public Affairs worked on a development plan for Clinton's "Liberty Square," a vacant, grassy plat of land between Liberty and Camanche avenues. Students in Tippie's Marketing program developed new branding materials for the city. Graduate students from the School of Library and Information Science helped to tell the story of Clinton's important role in the Underground Railroad. 

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