Monica Vernon takes leadership role with Czech-Newbo Main Street organization

Monica Vernon, photographed Nov. 29, 2017. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Monica Vernon, photographed Nov. 29, 2017. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Longtime Cedar Rapids businesswoman and public official Monica Vernon has been named to help lead the Czech Village New Bohemia Main Street District as the organization looks to expand its mission.

Vernon will serve as executive director of strategic development, the organization announced Monday. Vernon will be tasked with developing a comprehensive strategic vision and goals for the district in cooperation with various stakeholders.

The position incorporates fundraising, building relationships with businesses outside the district, and acting as a liaison with local governmental officials.

“I plan to work with our board, staff, volunteers and organizations and individuals throughout the region to keep the district growing and vibrant while preserving the character and enjoyment of these special places for years to come,” Vernon said in a news release.

Vernon’s first day was April 8.

Vernon joins Abby Huff, who was named executive director of the district two weeks ago. Huff and Vernon each report directly to the board of directors.

Vernon, who has a background in marketing, marketing research and communications, served 10 years on the City Planning Commission, two terms on the Cedar Rapids City Council and chaired the Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. More recently she ran twice for the Iowa’s 1st District congressional seat, once for the state’s lieutenant governor on the Democratic gubernatorial ticket and for Cedar Rapids mayor in 2017.

“For me it is all about community building, neighborhood building, place-making,” Vernon said. “I love historic preservation. I love thinking about how we can develop and redevelop old neighborhoods. To me this is all of the pieces put together.”

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