ISU Extension and Outreach Works with Citizens to Chart a Course for Maquoketa's Future

AMES, Iowa — The Maquoketa Area Chamber of Commerce and Office of Economic Development has partnered with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s Community and Economic Development (CED) unit for a two-year project to develop a vision for Maquoketa’s future. The goal of this project, aptly titled “Maquoketa’s Future Choices,” combines the knowledge and insight of a local steering committee with the expertise of ISU community development specialists.

“Encouraging local input from residents throughout the project will be critical to its success,” said chamber director and project leader Stacy Driscoll. “Our process will be open and transparent with much public input along the way so we can have public support of the plan we develop. We want to come out of this project with a plan of action that leads to a bright future for the Maquoketa community.”

Iowa State University will bring experts in economic analysis, community development, design, leadership and tourism development to work with Maquoketa citizens, civic leaders and business owners in charting a course for the future. A key element of this project is the process for gathering information, in that surveys and town meetings will be used to collect citizen input to help determine the most desirable future direction for the community.

ISU Extension specialists and students then will analyze the future choices to give Maquoketa an idea of the economic and community development implications of each alternative.

Tim Borich, ISU Extension and Outreach CED program director, is excited about this pilot project, because citizens will be involved in examining possible futures for the city — including the choice of status quo. “Citizens need to realize there are always consequences to every action, and even inaction. There can be a cost when a community doesn’t act,” he said. “This project will present a number of alternatives for the community’s development, including inaction. We hope the citizens and leaders of Maquoketa get involved in this process and carefully examine future choices for the Maquoketa community.”

The project began in October 2011 and will continue through the summer of 2013. Maquoketa citizens and city leaders will have many opportunities to be involved. Some of the products from this project will be an economic analysis report, a survey report and, based on citizens’ input, a long-term community development action plan. Other outcomes, based upon needs identified and priorities selected, may include leadership and tourism workshops; ISU College of Design students also may create alternative design concepts, graphic design concepts and way-finding ideas and if necessary, update Maquoketa’s comprehensive plan.