The city of Clinton has a new year-long partnership designed to support community development and promote engaged learning experiences for more than 100 University of Iowa students.

With one semester of work complete, students have benefitted from the partnership between the city of Clinton and the UI’s Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC) by learning from real-world experiences while also helping local projects move forward, according to a Tuesday Clinton release.

The Spring 2023 semester brings a new round of projects, as well as completion of other work that was started last fall. Spring-specific projects include creation of digital tools to collect information about Clinton’s Underground Railroad history and plans for new campground facilities in Eagle Point Park.

Several projects that were completed and presented late last year include designs for additions and renovations to Riverview Park, plans for a new stormwater utility, recommendations for engaging youth in local government and volunteer opportunities, and plans to improve biking accessibility in the downtown. 

Year-long projects that are continuing this spring semester include an update of a housing needs assessment, creation of a marketing strategy for Grow Clinton, strategies for address opioid addiction and abuse, and a masterplan for the Liberty Square District.

Late last year, UI students worked with the city of Clinton on designs for additions to Riverview Park, which will host a country music festival this June.

Clinton and the UI have forged mutually beneficial relationships through this partnership, which began nearly a year ago in its initial planning stages and following the city’s successful application to work with the program.

IISC’s director Travis Kraus says, “We appreciate partners that have thoughtful and proactive attitudes about the long-term economic, environmental, and cultural needs of their community.”

The opportunities for students, many of whom will continue to work and live in Iowa beyond graduation, is invaluable, the city release said.

“Projects like these help our students understand that while engineering expertise is important, it is only half of the design process,” says Rick Fosse, a faculty member in Civil and Environmental Engineering who oversees many of the student projects from his department.

On May 4, a public event in downtown Clinton will feature presentations by students, as well as a celebration of the partnership. More details about the event will be shared on the websites of both IISC and the City of Clinton.

The Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities is a campus-wide, engaged learning program housed in the Graduate College at the University of Iowa. IISC invests University of Iowa faculty and student time to increase the capacity of Iowa communities and to help them plan for a sustainable future.