Envision East Central Iowa

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Map of Iowa showing ECICOG's region: Benton, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Linn, and Washington Counties.

East Central Iowa Council of Governments (ECICOG) has launched “Envision East Central Iowa,” an update to our region’s six-county economic development strategies. The pandemic and evolving economic conditions over the past few years have provided us with an opportunity to re-imagine our region’s future. Envision East Central Iowa (EECI) will open grant opportunities for development throughout our urban and rural areas, and provide a framework for how we can work together to grow a strong, resilient region.

Map of Iowa showing ECICOG's region: Benton, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Linn, and Washington Counties.

East Central Iowa Council of Governments (ECICOG) has launched “Envision East Central Iowa,” an update to our region’s six-county economic development strategies. The pandemic and evolving economic conditions over the past few years have provided us with an opportunity to re-imagine our region’s future. Envision East Central Iowa (EECI) will open grant opportunities for development throughout our urban and rural areas, and provide a framework for how we can work together to grow a strong, resilient region.

  • Draft Documents Ready

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    After months of creative collaboration among hundreds of East Central Iowa thinkers and doers, the Envision East Central Iowa regional development plan is ready for review and comments!

    ECICOG would like to thank everyone who contributed to this launchpad for growth within our region, as well as the members of the action teams who will make the vision a reality. Together, we are all determined to create a brighter future.

    The plan is available as a set of three PDF files:

    Please review these reports and enter comments or questions in the Comments field below.

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  • Future Summit: Success!

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    Thank you to the nearly 100 regional stakeholders who joined us at Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery for the Future Summit yesterday! We are grateful for your input and look forward to working with you to bring our vision to reality.

    You can find the presentation from the Future Summit under the “Resources” heading on the right side.

    Over the next few weeks, we will be incorporating the data from the prioritization exercises into the final plan, after which we will start to mobilize action teams! If you are interesting in having someone speak with your group Envision East Central Iowa, contact ECICOG or any member of the Envision East Iowa Strategy Committee.

  • Future Summit: March 1

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    On March 1, the Envision East Central Iowa Strategy Committee will host a future summit to share details about the draft economic development strategy for the region. This exciting event represents the culmination of months of work and input from hundreds of stakeholders. The planning process is just the beginning. The following will be discussed at the Summit:

    • Key findings from Envision East Central Iowa Planning process;
    • How the planning process led to the seven strategic pillars for the region;
    • Action steps within each pillar; and
    • How you can help advance the work throughout the region.

    Register for the event here!

  • Discussion Boards Open

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    Interested in the region’s future but haven't been able to attend Envision East Central Iowa events? Check out the recently posted questions at the Discussion Boards tab above. We'd love to hear from you! Topics include:

    • Workforce Gap and Workforce Transformation
    • Demographic Diversity and Regional Social Values
    • Housing Affordability and Options
    • Food Production Capability and Concentration
    • Development Patterns and Growth Models
    • Regional Collaboration
    • Business Attraction and Entrepreneurship

    Please share the boards with other economic development stakeholders, elected officials, and local government staff!

  • Think-Tank Report Finalized

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    The report on the Community Think-Tank event is finalized! Click here or in the Resources section to the right to download it.

    The report details four potential future scenarios for the East Central Iowa region developed by the regional stakeholders who attended. The attendees determined which scenario was expected based on current trends, and which scenario was preferred. Read through the report to learn about each! Discussion boards will be posted soon for you to provide direct feedback.

  • Focus Groups Scheduled

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    Envision East Central Iowa is hosting focus groups throughout the region to continue work started at the September 29 Think Tank workshop. The tentative Focus Group agenda includes:

    • Debrief on Think-Tank outcomes
    • Brainstorm the future potential of bio-technology & medical technology under the preferred scenario
    • Determine potential strategies to accomplish the preferred scenario
    • Prioritize and build out the actions needed to achieve the preferred scenario

    Below is a list of the currently scheduled focus groups. More are in the works, so stay tuned for updates!

    Focus Group Date & Time Location
    Jones County - Monticello
    October 20
    9-11 am
    Monticello City Council Chambers
    200 E 1st St
    Monticello, IA 52310
    Washington County October 21
    9:30-11:15 am
    Washington Public Library
    115 W. Washington
    Washington, IA 52353
    Benton & Iowa Counties
    October 21
    2-4 pm
    TBA
    Food & Bio-Processing Industry October 22
    8-9:30 am
    Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance
    501 1st St SE
    Cedar Rapids, IA 52401
    Insurance & Finance Industry October 22
    10:30 am-12 pm
    Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance
    501 1st St SE
    Cedar Rapids, IA 52401
    Engineering & Automation Industry October 22
    1:30-3 pm
    Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance
    501 1st St SE
    Cedar Rapids, IA 52401
    Education Technology & Services Industry

    October 25

    12-1:30 pm

    MERGE Iowa City
    136 S. Dubuque Street
    Iowa City, IA 52240
    Bio-Technology & Medical Technology Industry October 25
    2:30-4 pm
    BioVentures Center; UI Research Park
    2500 Crosspark Road
    Coralville, IA 52241
    Jones County - Anamosa
    October 26
    9-11 am
    Lawrence Community Center
    600 E Main St, Anamosa, IA 52205


    Reach out to Karen Kurt at karen.kurt@ecicog.org or Adam Bentley at adam.bentley@ecicog.org with questions!

  • Community Think Tank

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    The Envision East Central Iowa Community Think Tank on September 29 had a great turnout! Over 120 key stakeholders from around the region joined the workshop. These attendees:

    • Discussed the future based on current trends
    • Considered the impacts of macro-trends both worldwide and regionally
    • Identified future strategic options

    View the Part 1 recording here and the Part 2 recording here. The presentation from Part 1 is available here, and a first glance at the outcomes can be downloaded here. These links are also available to the right in the Resources section. A detailed report summarizing the results of the Think Tank will be available in the next few weeks.


    The Envision East Central Iowa process will continue with focus groups furthering discussions started at the Think Tank. Watch for further announcements!

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  • Share Your Thoughts on Our Region’s Economic Future

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    This 15-question survey will help us better understand our region’s key economic drivers, as well as shape our collective vision for economic development following COVID-19. We want to hear your perspective! We strongly encourage you to both take the survey and share it with your community's local businesses, elected leaders, and key stakeholders.

    Please follow this link to take the survey!


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  • Community Think Tank Scheduled

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    The Community Think Tank workshop has been scheduled for September 29, 2021 on Zoom, bringing together a group of key stakeholders with broad diversity, knowledge, and experience in our region. This important event will involve: 

    • Determining how future ready we are
    • Reviewing important global, national, and local trends
    • Identifying the key drivers shaping the future
    • Forming four plausible scenarios for the future
    • Selecting the preferred and expected future, and implications thereof
    • Establishing potential action steps

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  • Strategy Committee Members

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    The Envision East Central Iowa Strategy Committee includes representatives from our region's governments, non-profits, and economic development groups.

    Karen Kurt ECICOG
    Doug Neumann CR Economic Alliance
    Kate Moreland ICAD
    Les Garner GCRCF
    Kim Becicka Kirkwood
    Jasmine Almoayyed Kirkwood
    Kristin Roberts United Way East of Central Iowa
    Nick Glew MEDCO
    Derek Lumsden Jones County Economic Dev.
    Jon Zirkelbach Jones County
    Mary Audia WEDG
    Katie Knight United Way Johnson and Washington Counties
    Bob Yoder Washington County
    Rod Sullivan Johnson County
    Janice Weiner City of Iowa City
    Jennifer Pratt City of Cedar Rapids
    Jon Darsee University of Iowa
    Eric Engelmann ISA Ventures
    Kate Robertson Benton Development Group
    Tracy Seeman Benton County
    Brent Oleson Linn County

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Page last updated: 24 Jun 2022, 11:41 AM