Grinnell, Iowa – A shining example of community and college collaboration

posted on Friday, March 27, 2015

Our Executive Director, Spencer Parkinson, and I completed a very interesting and fun project earlier this month. We had the opportunity to work with a great team representing Grinnell, IA, Grinnell College, the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce, and POW-I80 (the economic development group for Poweshiek County).

I was impressed by the high level of cooperation, collaboration, and support between the county, city and college. This was truly a team effort in every sense of the word.

They have some grand plans for aggressive redevelopment and repurposing of some historical areas of the city. Their goal is to create an inviting and vibrant downtown connection between the city of Grinnell and Grinnell College.


Our goal was to deliver a pre-application document for submission under the Iowa Reinvestment Act. We were all working under a fairly tight deadline. We used the Decision Innovation Solutions' collaborative work environment, which permitted all of us to be working in different parts of the application at the same time. It was fascinating to watch the group work together. While each team member had their specific areas of input, everyone took full responsibility for the entire document.

This project was our second opportunity to work with the Grinnell community. We worked on a similar project last year and in both cases the amount of planning and the long term vision of the community leaders was extraordinary. The citizens of Grinnell are fortunate to have people like Russ Behrens, Laura Manatt, Emily Counts and Monica Chavez-Silva working on their behalf.

We won't know for a while if their application for Iowa Reinvestment Act funding is approved. However, I am confident this community has the professional staff, leadership and community involvement it needs to be successful in any endeavor they choose to pursue. I wish them well and would jump at any opportunity to work with this crew again.

  1. collaboration
  2. economic impact
  3. feasibility study