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Home / Your 2014 resolutions for Iowa’s Creative Corridor
We Create Here was an initiative within the Gazette Company to develop evolving narratives and authentic conversations throughout Iowa's Creative Corridor. read more
We were overwhelmed by the response to our call for your New Year's resolutions for our region. This word cloud of commonly reoccurring words from your submissions offer a glimpse into the varied, ambitious goals we have for this remarkable place.
We've included excerpts from all your resolutions in Sunday's Gazette, but the highlights bear repeating here. What else will you work for in 2014? Share your thoughts as a comment or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
My resolution: live responsibly as an individual; engage in community action; and promote regional collaboration.
The natural disasters of 2008 had significant impacts on our state: 85 of Iowa's 99 counties were included in a national disaster declaration, with damage estimates ranging from $3.5 billion to $10 billion, statewide.
These disasters also led to a significant outcome: the adoption by the Iowa Legislature in 2010 of the Iowa Smart Planning law. The law establishes 10 smart planning principles that cities and counties “shall consider and may apply” in their land use decision-making processes if they choose to.
We are just now beginning to see examples of new or updated comprehensive plans come online across the state that incorporate the smart planning law. For example, Linn County recently updated its comprehensive plan, called “A Smarter Course: Building on the Past, Embracing the Future of Rural Linn County.” Strategies within the plan support the local food system; encourage energy-efficient building practices; promote energy production derived from solar, wind or biomass; foster development practices to reduce stormwater runoff and erosion; and plan for a transportation infrastructure that addresses the accessibility needs of all of our residents.
The plan recognizes that these strategies will not be accomplished all at once and that the county cannot do it alone, therefore it includes an implementation program that establishes time frames and identifies collaborating partners.
It's the proverbial three-legged stool - living responsibly as individuals enables community action, and communities acting together can provide regional approaches to solutions that are beyond the reach of any single community.
Les Beck, Director, Linn County Planning & Development
I have a simple New Year's Resolution for the Corridor: That we no longer seem surprised by the kind of future we are truly capable of having here. We need to redefine our expectations as to our potential - it is truly unlimited.
Barry Boyer, Cedar Rapids
More than 18 percent of the Cedar Rapids workforce and nearly 15 percent of the Iowa City area workforce are employed in the health care and social services industry. This group contributes to the bottom line vitality of the corridor from both financial and human care perspectives. As I think about the approaching New Year, my resolution is to ensure this industry is an active participant in the positive energy created by the “We Create Here” initiatives.
Jaye Kennedy, CEO, Waypoint Services
I aim to create my office in the APAC building into a healthy haven for cooking, classes and workshops for the Corridor. I will personally be aiding in Blue Zones goals and milestones to make Iowa the healthiest state. I also welcome everyone into the meetup.com group I founded called “Cedar Rapids Meet and Eat.” We visit local businesses and give a group perspective. In 2014 we resolve to make our website and begin our search for healthy places in the area.
Jackie Fetter, health coach and owner, Katering Kitchen and Honest Living
The success of the Creative Corridor depends on bringing creative problem-solvers together with entrepreneurial doers and empowering them to work in partnership. The University of Iowa helps supply our region with talented individuals and helps to create connections between them. My prediction for 2014 is that the university's faculty, staff and students will deepen already-strong partnerships with businesses and organizations throughout the corridor, helping create new prosperity through innovation.
Sally Mason, president, The University of Iowa
My New Year's Resolution: Connect community members to meaningful volunteer opportunities that will make our community a better place.
I will help residents share their time, talents and skills with area non-profits and bring residents together to help transform our community into a Blue Zone through volunteering.
Lastly, I personally will exceed the Governor's challenge of volunteering 50 hours and fulfill 100 hours of volunteering through United Way's Centennial Challenge.
Kayla Paulson, Volunteer Engagement, RSVP Coordinator, United Way Blue Zones Project, Volunteer Engagement Co-Chair
I resolve for 2014 to work to expand recreational and outdoor opportunities for the citizens of the region and Linn County. Specifically, I resolve to work for significant expansion of Morgan Creek Park & Arboretum; completion of hard surfacing Cedar Valley Nature Trail from Northern Linn County to its southern most point at the Johnson County border; to make Prospect Meadows Ball Field Complex of 17 baseball/softball fields a reality by 2015; to complete Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center as the premier interactive youth nature complex for schools and children with camping and trailhiking programs; and finally to commit more sustainable revenues to Linn County Conservation for county park and trail improvements, open space acquisition, conservation education, park maintenance & operations, and conservation measures including river and stream improvements.
Brent Oleson, Linn County Supervisor
True to our mission and in the spirit of the creativity, innovation and collaboration that define our Creative Corridor, Kirkwood resolves to remain responsive to community needs, provide accessible, quality education and training, and promote opportunities for lifelong learning. Our focus on regional centers brings top notch facilities, equipment and education to all the communities in our Creative Corridor. Soon, we will take this resolution to a first-in-the-nation reality with a remarkable alliance among Kirkwood, K-12 districts, the AEA, industry leaders and a top research university. As your community's college, what we do today will set the course for Iowa's and the Creative Corridor's bright and innovative educational future.
Mick Starcevich, president, Kirkwood Community College
Health, growth and character
[naviga:li]Cedar Rapids has experienced remarkable redevelopment in the wake of the Floods of 2008. This redevelopment is important to the community for many reasons, not the least of which is the attraction and retention of a young, talented workforce. A group of University of Iowa urban planning graduate students working on a workforce retention project in Cedar Rapids are finding that local young professionals are impressed with the recent redevelopment of downtown Cedar Rapids - and want to see more. In a survey of nearly 400 young professionals in the area, downtown growth and redevelopment was picked by respondents as one of the top three priorities that the city should focus on in the future.[/naviga:li]
[naviga:li]The Blue Zones Project aims to enhance the overall health and wellness through permanent changes to environment, policy and social networks. In addition to individual choices, community policies can play a role in supporting a healthier population through physical changes to the built environment. Adding bike lanes on roadways, widening sidewalks and promoting denser land development will allow Cedar Rapids residents to bike and walk to work or the grocery store rather than requiring a trip in their car. Encouraging new residential development in Cedar Rapids' urban core will help create neighborhoods where residents can live near where they work and play, resulting in a more active lifestyle.[/naviga:li]
[naviga:li]Neighborhoods like the Czech Village/New Bohemia District provide Cedar Rapids with a distinct identity, and create a “sense of place” where visitors see and feel something more than bricks and mortar. Today, the Czech Village/New Bohemia Main Street District organization is leading the effort to ensure that this neighborhood continues to rebuild and grow in the wake of the Floods of 2008.[/naviga:li]
Nick Benson, Program Coordinator, Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities
A bright future
I see a community that has taken back the education of its children by providing new and innovative learning environments and experiences for children, including Magnet schools and in schools-for-tomorrow designs like what is taking root at the BIG Ideas Group.
I see a community in which people regularly meet in small, self-organizing groups to connect, support one another, and push new ideas forward.
I see a community where we focus more on possibilities and hope than on highlighting problems and failures; a community where we assume the positive intent of others and continually work to understand the varying perspectives of the community to better appreciate the whole.
I see a community who no longer compartmentalizes discrete and competing efforts and is beginning to see itself truly as a Corridor.
Trace Pickering, associate superintendent, Cedar Rapids Community Schools
An exciting destination
I resolve to help build on the tremendous work already done to transform the Czech Village/New Bo District into an exciting destination. This work includes preserving historic structures, embracing a robust beautification program and implementing a strategic revitalization plan. By focusing attention on these activities, it is my hope that visitors from throughout the Creative Corridor and beyond will come in droves to join us at the varied entertainment venues, shop in the unique boutiques, dine in one of the many restaurants, take in one of the many exhibits at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library or pick up culinary delights at the New Bo City Market.
Lu Barron, Linn County Supervisor, National Czech and Slovak Museum & Library Chairwoman, Czech Village/New Bo Main Street Board Member
I have just one New Year's Resolution for 2014 - to remember and follow the example of my friend, the remarkable Peggy Whitworth. First, she was an indefatigable champion of all things arts and culture. Her new year's vision for the Creative Corridor would definitely include a vibrant and growing cultural community, as does mine. Second, for years she was a trailblazer for many professional women who followed her example to new positions in business and boardrooms. A prosperous Corridor will need all its leaders, both male and female, in 2014 and beyond. Finally, Peggy was a compassionate advocate for people dealing with disabilities and other disadvantages. Like Peggy, I want to live in a Corridor that provides opportunities for all, and for me that means working at Kirkwood to increase educational opportunities.
Peggy carried these torches for years. My resolution is to honor her memory in 2014 by aspiring to her example.
Kathy L. Hall, Vice President, Development, Kirkwood Community College, Executive Director, Kirkwood Foundation
Personal and Professional 2014 Goals for the Corridor:
1. Increase involvement or join a new organization whose sole purpose is advocating for watershed management for the region. It's critical to the Midwest region to understand that flood protection is not just a Cedar Rapids issue but a regional one and it's bigger than flood walls (IE: embracing the river with green space instead of rebuilding on it).
2. Personally and professionally, continue to look for ways to model diversity and inclusion in the region. I will continue to do this by including friends from different perspectives in my social circle; and professionally, modeling this with our students. Our communities have people from all walks of life that enrich our everyday experience. Homogeneous is boring!
Diana Rae Patten, Cedar Rapids
My resolution for 2014. Help people to age with health and grace. To take the life journey of discovery in finding your Purpose. “You were not put on this planet for yourself, You were given the gift to help others” words from my mom. The Cedar Rapids participation in the Blue Zones Project and Linn Area Credit Union's commitment for my time & energy are going to help propel thus city into Purpose, Health and Well-being far beyond 2014. It starts with one and grow to millions.
Patricia Cavanaugh, Linn Area Credit Union Training & Development Specialist, Blue Zones Project - Cedar Rapids, Purpose Co-Chair
Personally, I'm really excited for 2014. We live in a great community that is forward-thinking and fostering the culture and creativity that leads to a vibrant city where people live long, happy lives. My resolution is to do what I can to be part of the cultural and creative renaissance taking place in Cedar Rapids. To be part of exciting events and new ideas, and to help people make strides in their personal well-being goals so they can start feeling better about their day-to-day life and start being excited about the adventure of life.
Will Lenzen Jr., Blue Zones Project, Cedar Rapids Engagement Lead
In 2014 I hope we will lose just a little bit of our Iowa humility and reply to the question, “Where are you from?” with “Iowa's Creative Corridor.” Will refer to our
hometown (adopted or not) as a community of a half-million people with urban, rural, and suburban living environments all within a 30-minute commute.
Will speak proudly about our entrepreneurial ecosystem, which attracts and supports nascent business ventures and celebrates a diversity of values, beliefs, skills and knowledge.
I hope we'll establish stronger relationships with more people who think differently than do we and have more fun!
Nancy Quellhorst, President/CEO, Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce
Iowa has been on the national radar for start-ups and entrepreneurship for a few years now. In 2013 the Creative Corridor Project, which includes Creative Week, helped us highlight creativity and innovation here in the Corridor. In 2014 we will see a Startup Weekend and then watch the Iowa Startup Accelerator launch as a vital part of a startup factory in Cedar Rapids. We will see the future major employers in the area emerge from the work of so many people. There is very large tribe focused on the long term economic development of this area and I am proud to play a small part in propelling us forward.
David Tominsky, Entrepreneur and Owner, CoreTCS, LLC.